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Antonio Del Rio
Description of the Ruins of an Ancient City...


return to pg. 1  -  go to pg. 3

  • 1822 The Times
  • 1822 Literary Gazette
  • 1822 Eclectic Review
  • 1822 New Monthly Magazine
  • 1823 History of Guatemala
  • 1824 History of New-York
  • 1825 Recueil de Voyages
  • 1825 Asiatic Journal
  • 1826 New York American
  • 1827 Historical Researches
  • 1828 Quarterly Journal of Lit.
  • 1829 Hope of Israel

  • transcriber's comments

  • Palenque Chronology  |  Rafinesque's 1827 letter on Palenque glyphs


    (News Item & Advertisement)
    The Times
    Nos. 11,658 & 11,681
    London, Sept, 7 & Oct. 4, 1822
    (no author listed)

  • Sept. 7

  • Oct. 4

  • [ Saturday, Sept. 7, 1822, p. 3 ]

    ANCIENT CITY IN AMERICA. -- The ruins of an extensive city, said to have been discovered a few years since in Guatimala, Mexico; have been surveyed by a learned Spaniard, and drawings made of its curiosities, which have been sent to London, and will soon be presented to the world. The city had been covered for ages with herbage and underwood.

    Note: Reports similar to this appeared in numerous English language newspapers during the summer of 1822. The news may have originated with a mysterious "Dr. McQuy" (or McQueen) in Jamaica, near the end of April. See the Newport Rhode-Island Republican of May 1, 1822 for an early version of this news item. Although The Times appears to have been the first periodical to publish the Palenque report to British readers, several American papers ran the item earlier that summer, including the Hartford American Mercury of July 1, 1822; the Batavia, NY Republican Advocate of July 5, 1822; the Boston Commercial Gazette of July 18, 1822; and the Rhode Island Providence Patriot of July 27, 1822.


    [ Friday, Oct. 4, 1822, p. 4 ]

    In the press and speedily will be published, from original manuscript.
    DON ANTONIO DEL RIO'S DISCOVERY of the RUINS of an ANCIENT CITY, in the Kingdom of Guatimali [sic], in Spanish America, with Dr. P. F. Cabrera's Analysis and Dissertation on the same, and his Solution respecting the Origin of the Population; 1 vol. 4to, plates, &c. ... Printed for H. Berthoud, jun. at his French, Italian, and English circulating library, 65 Regent's quadrant, Piccadilly.


    "Description of the Ruins..."
    London Literary Gazette
    No. 302
    London, Nov. 2, 1822
    (no author listed)

  • p. 705

  • [ 705 ]

    Description of the Ruins of an Ancient City discovered near Palenque, Kingdom of Guatemala, in America; from the Original Report of Captain Don Antonio dal Rio: followed by a Critical Investigation into the History of the Americans, by Doctor Paul F. Cabrera. 4to. pp. 198. London 1822. H. Berthoud.

    This volume, mixed with some curious matter, contains about as fanciful an antiquarian hypothesis as we ever met with. The gallant Captain del Rio having surveyed and reported upon a certain mass of ruins in New Spain, the learned Doctor Cabrera has made it the foundation of a theory in which he traces the original population of America as plainly as if, like Edie Ochiltree, he "minded the bigging o't."

    A Preface impresses on readers the authenticity of the original MS. of del Rio, which lies at the Publisher's for the inspection of the sceptical. Though written in 1787, the prevalent Spanish apathy suffered his Report to lie among the Archives unnoticed till the late movements of revolution brought it to light. The Ruins to which it relates seem almost as little known as the MS.; for, we are told that even at Mexico and Guatemala they are ignorant of their existence. Dr. Cabrera, however, had heard of them before 1794, when he composed his Researches; and Humboldt mentions them on rumour, never having been himself in the quarter where their site is laid down. This locality is about fifteen miles from Palenque, in the province of Cuidad Real de Chiapa. The natives call the place Casa de Piedras, Stone Houses, from fourteen solid buildings of stone still remaining; and the ruins extend from 7 to 8 leagues in length, though in proportion narrow, in parts not exceeding half a league.

    When Captain Del Rio reached the spot, agreeably to King of Spain's command, he found it necessary to fell and clear away the wood, in order to survey the buildings. He employed the Indians in this labour, and afterwards in making the excavations which his investigation required. The situation is described as being very fine, on a mountain, surrounded by the River Micol, in a fertile country, with many rivers abounding in físh, a delicious climate, and rich in all that could render life easy and luxurious. The ruins of this "Palencian" City are further said to resemble Roman Ruins; and the remains of an aqueduct confirms our author in opinion, that the new world was not unknown to these masters of the old. Similar ruins in Yucatan are alleged in confirmation of this doctrine. The buildings are said to resemble the gothic in their interior, and a print is given of one of the most remarkable of them, which, in our opinion, is sufficient in itself to overthrow the theory of their very remote antiquity. To talk of medallions, figures in stucco, relievos, devices, &c. &c. at the assigned period, is little short of the grossest absurdity. Of the flint lances, conical pyramids, earthen jars, hearts of dark stone called Challa, and even balls of vermilion, found in digging, we shall say nothing, except that most of these articles tend to prove the futility of the Antiquarian's arguments.

    To these arguments we shall therefore address ourselves very briefly. Dr. Cabrera quotes Calmet and Moctezuma, Eusebius and Nunez de la Vega, Diodorus and Clavigero, and many other authorities, to show (in the absence of all the annals and records of Spanish America, which were destroyed by its Catholic conquerors in their zeal to efface every recollection of pagan idolatry,) that an individnal named Votan (signifying "Heart,") was acquainted with the old and new Continents, and passed to and fro, four times, across the Atlantic!!! To support this assertion he appeals to South American MSS., metallic plates found, and the rude effigies in stone at the Palencian City. From these data he argues that Votan was the third of his race; that he led seven families to Mexico and settled them there; and that other families of the same tribe, called Culebra, or Snake, also found their way to the adjacent provinces. Votan is therefore declared to be "the first populator of the New World;" yet we hear of the intermarriage of his people with natives of a different race! In one of the documents rested upon, the following dictum is set down as issuing from the mouth of Votan -- "I am Culebra because I am Chivim;" and this the learned Commentator says, "with a little study, admits of a clear and convincing explanation"! We confess that we think his explanation quite the reverse; for it amounts to no more than an unsubstantial and idle assertion, that Votan therein shows that "he is a Hivite originally of Tripoli in Syria, which he calls Valum Chivim, where he landed in his voyages to the old Continent." These were pretty voyages for that age of the world, from Tripoli at the bottom of the Mediterranean, to Hispaniola and the Gulf of Mexico!! We beg our readers to observe what that age was, agreeable to Dr. Cabrera. It appears from Nunes de la Vega, that Votan was the grandson of Noah, and had probably therefore studied navigation during the Flood. He had seen the Tower of Babel, and was sent by God to divide and portion out the Indian lands. Elsewhere Votan is held to be the offspring of the Tyrian Hercules, and it is maintained that Hispaniola or "Septimania, beyond a doubt the island of Atlantis," was his place of resort for peopling the continent of America. In this arrangement, instead of Babel, it is said to be Rome which the mighty traveller visited, and the epoch is fixed to a year by the building of a temple to Romulus and Remus, A.U.C. 464.

    Upon this point we shall say no more. If our epitome has explained the original peopling of America to our readers, it will be an unexpected pleasure to us, as we candidly acknowledge that it has not produced that degree of knowledge in our own minds. Perhaps they may entertain doubts, and think the hypothesis at least as rational which supposes the tide of population to have flowed from the North. Nevertheless they must not fancy Votan a mere nobody. All the accounts, pictures, and representations of him lithographed (as they were found) in stone, show us a warrior of early times resembling such as Persepolis, as Thebes, and other ancient monuments exhibit. No doubt he was one of the demigods of Mexican history; but as for being the grandson of Noah, or even of Hercules Tyrius, and playing the part of an Anson, Cook, or Captain Parry somewhere about the year One, we do not attach the slightest degree of credit to the fact.

    Several singular prints illustrate Dr. Cabrera's opposite opinion, but for want of proper references to them the whole work is obscure, and in parts altogether unintelligible. The printers too have done their duty carelessly.


    "Description of the Ruins..."
    The Eclectic Review
    Vol. XVIII  No. 6
    London, Dec. 1822
    (no author listed)

  • pp. 523-532

  • [ 523 ]

    Art. IV. Description of the Ruins of an Ancient City, discovered near Palenque, in the Kingdom of Guatemala, in Spanish America: translated from the Original Manuscript Report of Captain Don Antonio del Rio, followed by a Critical Investigation and Research into the History of the Americas. By Doctor Paul Felix Cabrera, of the city of New Gautemala. 4to. pp. xiv, 128. (17 plates.) Price 1 l. 8 s. London. 1822.

    A short text and a long comment are no more and no worse than might reasonably be looked for in such a case as the present. The bare fact[s], without any description, were sufficient to afford matter for a whole dissertation. Here are the remains of an undoubted Mexican city discovered within the recesses of the New World, where, for aught we know, Yuhidthiton once reigned, whom Mr. Southey has immortalized in his "Madoc;" but the history of which, could its history be revealed, would doubtless stretch back far away into the twilight of time. Here are stone buildings and brick buildings, with bas-reliefs and hieroglyphics, enough to put the whole French National Institute on the alert; and who knows but Monsieur Dupruis may discover, among other strange things here represented, another zodiac to rectify the Mosaic chronology? Captian del Rio talks of excavations too, which are to lead to further discoveries, in a style that must rouse all the slumbering energies of Belzoni, should this volume ever fall in his way; and but for the rather unsettled state of the country

    [ 524 ]

    just now under his Majesty the new Emperor of Mexico and his allies, we should not despair of soon being in possession of some English traveller's description of the Palencian city. It seems that the existence of these ruins was known to the indefatigable Humboldt, when exploring the wonders of New Spain; and 'if the learned gentleman had not been at an immense distance from that part of the country where the ruins lay, there is no doubt,' remarks the Editor, 'but he would have visited these extraordinary remains.' The wish that he had, is unaviling: we must be content with the statement of Capt. del Rio, which was drawn up in the year 1787, in the shape of a Report to the Governor and Commandant General of the kingdom of Guatemala, &c., and is stated to have been brought to light in the recent examination of the public archives of the city of new Guatemala, among which it was deposited.

    In compliance with the royal mandate, bearing date May 15th, 1786, 'relative to another examination of the ruins discovered in the city of Palenque in the Province of Ciudad Real de Chiapa in New Spain,' Don Antonio, provided with a corps of Indians as opineers, proceeded to Casas de Piedras (stone houses), as the ruins are called; and after spending, as it should seem, a fortnight in felling and firing the timber with which the ruins were inaccessibly surrounded, succeeded in opening a clear path, and obtaining a wholesome atomosphere for his further operations. 'By dint of perseverance,' he effected, he says, 'all that was necessary to be done; so that ultimately there remained neither a window nor a door-way blocked up, a partition that was not thrown down, nor a room, corridor, court, tower, nor subterranean passage in which excavations were not effected from two to three yards in depth.' The Captain's description of the site, is as follows:

    'From Palenque, the last town northward in the province of Ciudad Real de Chiapa, taking a south-westerly direction, and ascending a ridge of high land that divides the kingdom of Guatemala from Yucatan, or Campeachy, at the distance of two leagues, is the little river Micol, whose waters flowing in a westerly direction unite with the great river Tulija, which bends its course towards the province of Tabasco; having passed Micol, the ascent begins, and at half a league from thence, the traveller crosses a little stream called Otolum, discharging its waters into the before-mentioned current: from this point, heaps of ruins are discovered, which render the road very difficult for another half league; when you gain the height whereon the Stone Houses are situated, being fourteen in number, some more dilapidated than others, but still having many of their apartments perfectly discernible.

    'A rectangular area, three hundred yards in breadth by four hundred

    [ 525 ]

    and fifty in length, presents a plain at the base of the highest mountain forming the ridge; and in the centre is situated the largest of these structures which has been as yet discovered. It stands on a mound twenty yards high, and is surrounded by the other edifices, namely; five to the northward, four to the southward, one to the south-west, and three to the eastward. In all directions, the fragments of other fallen buildings are to be seen extending along the mountain, that stretches east and west about three or four leagues either way; so that the whole range of this ruined town may be computed to extend between seven and eight leagues, but its breadth is by no means equal to its length, being little more than half a league wide at the point, where the ruins terminate, which is towards the river Micol, that winds round the base of the mountain, whence descend small streams that wash the foundation of the ruins on their banks; so that, were it not for the thick umbrageous foliage of the trees, they would present to the view so many beautiful serpentine rivulets.

    Under the largest building, there runs 'a subterranean stone aqueduct of great solidity and durability,' which the worthy Don considers undoubted proof of the builders having had some intercourse with the Romans; but, unfortunately, he neglects to state the precise grounds of his opinion. Whether the aqueduct rests upon arches, is not stated. This 'charming locality' exhibits all the signs of a fertile soil: an abundance of wild fruit-trees, such as the 'sapotes, acquacate, camote, yaca or cassava, and plantain,' indicate what the soil would furnish under proper cultivation. The rivers abound with the moharra, bobo, turtle, and the lesser shell-fish, and running to the East, North, and West, afford the utmost facility to inland traffic. Not to make ourselves responsible for the vagueness and blunders of the description of the edifices in question, we must give it in the Translator's own words, only with a little abridgement.

    'The interior of the large building is in a style of architecture strongly resembling the Gothic, and from its rude and massive construction, promises great durability. The entrance is on the eastern side, by a portico or corridor thirty-six yards (varas) in length and three in breadth, supported by plain rectangular pillars, without either bases or pedestals, upon which there are square smooth stones of more than a foot in thickness forming an architrave; while on the exterior superficies are shields of a species of stucco; and over these stones, there is another plain rectangular block, five feet long and six broad, extending over two of the pillars. Medallions or compartments in stucco, containing different devices of the same material, appear as decorations to the chambers; and it is presumable from the vestiges of the heads which can still be traced, that they were the busts of a series of kings or lords to whom the natives were subject. Between the medallions there is a range of windows like niches, passing from one end of the wall to the other;

    [ 526 ]

    some of them are square, some in form of a Greek cross, being about two feet high and eight inches deep. Beyond the corridor, there is a square court entered by a flight of seven steps. The north side is entirely in ruins, but sufficient traces remain to shew that it once had a chamber and corridor similar to those on the eastern side, and which continued entirely along the several angles. The south side has four small chambers with no other ornament than one or two little windows like those already described. The western side is correspondent to its opposite in all respects, but in the variety of expression of the figures in stucco: these are much more rude and ridiculous than the others, and can be attributed only to the most uncultivated Indian capacity. The device is a sort of grotesque mask with a crown and long beard like that of a goat, under this are two Greek crosses, one within in the other.

    'Proceeding in the same direction, there is another court similar in length to the last, but not so broad, having a passage round it that communicated with the opposite side; in this passage there are two chambers like those above mentioned, and an interior gallery, looking on one side upon the court-yard, and commanding on the other a view of the open country. In this part of the edifice, some pillars yet remain, on which are the relievos apparently representing the sacrifice of some wretched Indian, the destined victim of a sanguinary religion.

    'Returning by the south side, the tower presents itself to notice: it height is sixteen yards; and to the four existing stories of the building * was perhaps added a fifth with a cupola. These stories diminish in size and are without ornament. The tower has a well imitated artificial entrance..... Behind the four chambers already mentioned, there are two others of larger dimensions, very well ornamented in the rude Indian style, and which appear to have been used as oratories. Beyond these oratories, and extending from north to south, are two apartments, each twenty seven yards long by little more than three broad; they contain nothing worthy of notice, excepting a stone of an elliptical form, embedded in the wall, about a yard above the pavement, the height of which is one yard and a quarter, and the breadth one yard. Below this stone, is a plain rectangular block, more than two yards long by one yard and seven inches thick, placed upon four feet in form of a table, with a figure in bas-relief in the attitude of supporting it. Characters or symbols adorn the edges of the table. At the extremity of this apartment, and on a level with the pavement, there is an aperture like a hatchway, two yards long and more than one broad, leading to a subterranean passage by a flight of steps, which, at a regular distance, forms flats or landings, each having its respective door-way, ornamented in the front. Other openings lead to this subterranean avenue. On reaching the second door, artificial light was necessary to continue the descent into this gloomy abode, which was by a very gentle declivity. It has a turning at right angles; and at the end of the side passage, there is another door communicating with a

    * There are only three floors in the subjoined etching.

    [ 527 ]

    chamber sixty-four yards long, and almost as large as those already described; beyond this room there is still another, similar in every respect, and having light admitted into it by some windows commanding a corridor * fronting the South, and leading to the exterior of the edifice. Neither bas-reliefs nor any other embellishments were found in these places, nor did they present to notice any object, except some plain stones, two yards and a half long, by one yard and a quarter broad, arranged horizontally upon four square stands of masonry, rising about half a yard above the ground. These I consider to have been receptacles for sleeping. Here all the doors terminated.

    'On an eminence to the South is another edifice, of about forty yards in height, forming a parallelogram, and resembling the first in its style of architecture. It has square pillars, an exterior gallery, and a saloon twenty yards long by three and a half broad, embellished with stucco medio-reliefs, representing female figures with children in their arms, all of the natural size: these figures are without heads. In the inner wall of the gallery, on each side of the door leading into the saloon, there are three stones, three yards in height and upwards of one broad, covered with the hieroglyphics in bas-relief. The whole of this gallery and saloon are paved.

    'Leaving this structure, and passing by the ruins of many others, which are probably accessory to the principal edifice, the declivity conducts to an open space, whereby the approach to another house in a southerly direction is rendered practicable.... Eastward of this structure are three small eminences forming a triangle, upon each of which is a square building, eighteen yards long by eleven broad, of the same architecture as the former, but having along thin roofings, several superstructures about three yards high, resembling turrets, covered with ornaments and devices in stucco. In the interior of the first of these three mansions, at the end of a gallery almost entirely dilapidated, is a saloon having a small chamber at each extremity. In the centre of the saloon is an oratory, rather more than three yards square, presenting on each side of the entrance, a perpendicular stone, whereon is portrayed the image of a man in bas-relief. The outward decoration is confined to a sort of moulding finished with small stucco bricks, on which are bas-reliefs. The pavement of the oratory is quite smooth, and eight inches thick. On perforating it in order to make an excavation, I found, about half a yard deep, a small round earthen vessel, about a foot in diameter, fitted horizontally with a mixture of lime to another of the same quality and dimensions. The digging being continued, a quarter of a yard beneath, we discovered a circular stone of rather larger diameter than the first articles; and on removing this, a cylindrical cavity presented itself, about a foot wide and the third of a foot deep, containing a flint lance, (lance-head?) two small conical pyramids with the figure of a heart in dark crystallized stone, (known by the name of challa,) and two small earthen jars with covers, containing small stones and a ball of vermilion.'

    * How this consists with its subterraneous position, we cannot explain: there is probably some error.

    [ 528 ]

    The other two edifices are of similar architecture, and divided internally in the same manner; and here also, the Don states, were found, by excavating under what he calls the oratories, a flint lance or lance-head, two conical pyramids with the representation of a heart, and two earthen jars. On digging in other parts, they found small pieces of challa 'in the shape of lancets or razor-blades,' and a number of small bines and teeth, which, together with specimens of the masonry, and representations of the principal bas-reliefs, were forwarded by Don Antonio to the Commandant General, in order to be transmitted to Europe.

    We shall not stop to point out the obvious inaccuracies of the preceding account, since ehat appears obscure or inconsistent, may very possibly have been rendered so by the transcriber or the translator. The publication certainly appears under great disadvantages. The lithographic plates are given without any explanation or even numeration, so that there are no figures answering to the references continually occurring in the Report. For this, however, the present Publisher is not responsible, the drawings which accompanied the MS. are also without references. To these copies, (for we cannot look upon them as originals,) which we have ourselves compared with the plates, the Engraver has so faithfully adhered, that in the first plate, containing a sort of ground-plan of one of the edifices, the Spanish terms for the four cardinal points, &c. have not even been translated. A still grosser instance of ignorance or carelessness occurs in the 'table of Mexican years,' in the transcribing of which from pages of a different size, the numerical order has got transposed in the most perplexing and ridiculous manner. There are other blunders which we presume to be typographical.

    There is but one plate representing any of the edifices. This is, we presume, the tower referred to: it has two receding stories, and has evidently been carried higher. The windows are square, within arvhed niches somewhat rudely cut; and between each story, a double frieze or ledge runs round the building. Branches of trees appear to have forced their way through the walls. The other plates contain representations of the bas-reliefs. These chiefly consist of figures in varied dresses and attitudes, and with different accompaniments, but all more or less decorously clothed, with caps or helmets adorned with flowers, pearls, and sundry non-descript ornaments. Necklaces and strings of pearls are a conspicuous decoration of most of the figures. But the most striking quality of these representations is, the physiognomy of the countenances, which is of one strongly marked character, though

    [ 529 ]

    the individuals differ. A prodigious development of feature, especially of that which should be called the nose, but which, in these personages, comes nearer to a beak, in common to all of them; in almost all, the chin recedes not less remarkably than the proboscis protrudes; while some of the visages have the additional recomendation of being fearfully under-hung. This is especially the case with an old priest in a cap and apron, who has got an infant in his arms, doubtless with no very good purpose. In one of the plates, a personage whom we take to be a deity, is seated on a curious sort of throne, with one leg brought up into the lap, and the other depending, very much after the fashion of some Hindoo celestials, who prefer very odd and uncomfortable postures. This personage is very significantly pointing upwards with the fore-finger of the left hand, while the middle finger of the right is brought to rest emphatically upon the thumb, like a person talking with his fingers. The throne is ornamented with an enormous head and claw of an animal on each side of it; and perched on these heads are two undefined imp-like forms with something resembling a flame proceeding from their forehead. In the next plate, a medallion of inferior execution, represents a personage adorned with ear-rings, necklace, and bracelets, but no clothing except round the waist, seated a la Turque on a two-headed monster, and receiving a present from a full-dressed figure in a kneeling attitude. A smaller medallion in the rudest style, represents a tree with a serpent twining round the trunk, and a bird perched on a branch hard by; and another presents a naked youth kneeling, and looking into the open jaws of a monstrous head, while another pair of tusks are protruding at his back. It is observable, that none of the figures have a martial character, nor have they any weapon at all resembling a sword. But what the strange instruments are which they hold, or what they are engaged in, and what is the import of the strange hieroglyphics flourished round the largest drawing, no one can tell, -- we beg pardon, unless it be Doctor Paul Felix Cabrera. He, with an ingenuity and penetration truly marvelous, finds out the whole history of America in these rude representations, and tells us who the personages are, as readily as if they had all been his patients. The principal figure, it seems, is no other than Votan, great-grandson of Noah, who was the first man sent by God to America 'to divide and portion out 'these Indian lands.' He was not only a great prince, but an historical writer; an account of his birth, parentage, and adventures, drawn up by himself, fell into the hands of the bishop of Chiapa, Don Francisco Nunez de la Vega, author of the "Diocesan Constitutions," printed at Rome in 1702, who

    [ 530 ]

    was led to withhold it from the public only by his religious scruples, 'on account of the mischievous use the Indians made 'of their histories in their superstition of nagualism,' or demonology. It is much regretted, as the Doctor very sapiently observes, 'that the place is unknown where the precious documents of history were deposited.' But a still more lamentable loss to the world has been sustained in the destruction, by the hands of the same orthodox but over-zealous prelate, of certain large earthen vases containing figures in stone of the ancient Indian Pagans, which the unerring testimony of tradition ascribed to the same worthy American patriarch, and which consequently must have been the most ancient pottery now to be met with. It is possible, however, the Doctor assures us for our consolation,

    'that Votan's historical tract alluded to by Nunez de la Vega, or another similar to it, may be the one which is now in the possession of Don Ramon de Ordonez y Aguiar, a native of Ciudad Real; he is a man of extraordinary genius, and engaged at this time, in composing a work, the title of which I have seen, being as follows, Historia del Cielo y de la Tierra; that will not only embrace the original population of America, but trace its progress from Chaldea immediately after the confusion of tongues; its mystical and moral theology, its mythology and most important events. His literary acquirements, his application to, and study of the subject for more than thirty years, his skill in the Tzendal language, in which idiom the tract just spoken of is written, and the many excellent authors he has collected, lead us to anticipate a work, so perfect in its kind, as will completely astonish the world.'

    There is so little attention paid to Spanish literarure in this country, that we have serious apprehensions that the work of Don Ramon will never find its way to us. The title, however, which the Doctor assures us that he had actually seen, is enough to provoke any one's curiosity. But we must be allowed to doubt whether, when completed, it will deserve to be styled a perfect work of its kind, since it promises to embrace only 'the history of heaven and earth,' whereas a perfect history should include at least that of the moon, if not that of the solar system. But to return to Doctor Cabrera. The second fifure, holding mute dialogue with Votan, is no other than the Egyprian Osiris: 'the mitre or cap with bull's horns on his head, removes all doubts' on this point. And his godship is seen at the feet of Votan, on one of these bas-reliefs, 'supplicating to be taken to America, to be there known and adored.'!!! Other proofs of the identity of the American and the Egyptian rites, insisted upon by the learned Dissertator, decency forbids our adverting to. But, in short, such is the

    [ 531 ]

    unequivocal evidence supplied by these precious documents, backed by the Doctor's learned authorities, that the reader is 'forced to acknowledge, this history of the origin of the Americans excels those of the Greeks, the Romans, and the most celebrated nations of the world, and is even worthy of being compared with that of the Hebrews themselves.' Thus, at one blow, the venerable traditions or ingenious hypotheses which would deduce the aborigines of the New World from the Phenicians, the Philistines, the Carthaginians, or the Ten Tribes, to say nothing of Captain del Rio's notion of their Roman connexions, -- are all swept away as falling far short of their remote antiquity. But then, happily for the credit of Moses, and to the utter confusion of Isaac Peyere and other infidels, who have denied that all the human race are the descendants of Adam and Eve, Dr. Cabrera has proved the Americans not to have been Pre-Adamites.

    We had intended to offer a remark or two on these remains, on the supposition that they might have a somewhat less remote origin. According to the testimony of the holy father of the Convent of Merida, who gave the account to Captain del Rio, about twenty leagues from that city southward, are the remains of several stone edifices, one of which is said to be large and in good preservation: the natives know it by the name of Oxmutal. Eight leagues to the northward of Merida are the ruined walls of several other houses, which are stated to increase in number in an easterly direction. At Mani on the river Lagartos, we are told, there is 'a very ancient palace' resembling that at Palenque, which was for some time inhabited by the Franciscans while their convent was building; and in the middle of the principal square is said to stand a conical pillar or pyramid, built of stones. Lastly, on the road from Merida to Bacalar there occur many other buildings. Humboldt refers to the ruins of an Azteck city to the north of Mexico, on the banks of the Rio Gila; and these Stone Houses would probably be referred, by persons not possessed of Doctor Cabrera's learning, to the same people. Admitting this supposition for a moment, these traces of an extinct nation would still be highly interesting; for, in these rude structures and decorations, even though we should conclude them to be the productions of a post-Christian era, we should still have, in all probability, the fac-similes of the works of their ancestors. 'Savage nations, remarks Humboldt, 'and those civilized people who are condemned by their political and religious institutions always to imitate themselves, strive as if by instinct to perpetuate the same forms, to preserve a peculiar

    [ 532 ]

    type or style, and to follow the methods and processes which were exmplyed by their ancestors.' This remark he considers as peculiarly applying to the Hindoos, the Tibetians, the Chinese, the ancient Egyptians, the Aztecks, and the Peruvians with whom the tendency of the body towards civilization, has prevented the free development of the faculties of individuals. The actual date, then, of the particular specimen of art which may be brought to light, is, according to this view, a matter of subordinate importance, since it may be considered as a cast from a far more ancient mould, as the traditional imitation of a primitive model. All figures are beardless. The protruding under-lip is so much out of nature, that it must be attributed to artificial means. Some of the Indian tribes are known to wear pieces of wood, or bone, in their under-lip. We should have remarked, that one of the figures has, suspended from the neck, a very pretty ornament, which seems meant for an image of the sun. Other drawings are referred to in the Report, though they did not find their way with the MS. to the Publisher, representing serpents, lizards, statues of men with palms in their hands, others beating drums and dancing, &c. &c. These might possibily have thrown further light on the national character and filiation of the Palencians, had not Doctor Cabrera settled the question. He has actually 'solved the grand historical problem.' without them, and further data would only have detracted from the merit of his achievement. What more can be desired than sufficient evidence, such as shall leave incredulity without excuse? If our readers are not by this time as wise as Doctor Cabrera, it is not our fault.


    "Description of the Ruins..."
    New Monthly Magazine
    and Literary Journal

    Vol. VI  No. 24
    London, Dec. 1822
    (no author listed)

  • pp. 555-556

  • [pp. 555-56]


    Description of the Ruins of an ancient City discovered near Palenque, in the kingdom of Guatemala, in Spanish America; translated from the original manuscript report of Captain Don Antonio del Rio, followed by Teatro Critico Americano, or a critical Investigation and Research of the History of the Americans; by Doctor Paul Felix Cabrera, of the city of New Guatemala.

    The original MS. of Captain Antonio del Rio's report, together with the investigation, written in consequence of that officer's researches, by Dr. Paul Felix Cabrera, were deposited in the archives of the city of New Guatemala, from whence they were obtained by a gentleman who was for many years a resident in that city, and are now open for public inspection, at Mr. Berthoud'e, the publisher of ihe present volume. The period of Captain Del Rio's discoveries was 1787; that of Cabrera's remarks on the original population of America was in 1794. The apathy of the old Spanish character, and the jealousy of the nation with respect to their possessions in Mexico, occasioned this silence for so many years on a subject so very interesting. But the events of the Spanish revolution have expanded the public mind, and have made even the functionaries of government liberal and curious enough to explore the long-treasured documents of thu public archives. With respect to the authenticity of this record, and the existence of the Palencian city, the editor before us begs leave to remark, that the distance from Palenque, in the district of Carmen, province of Chiapa, to the ruins of the Palencian city, is no more than fifteen miles; and if any farther confirmation is required upon this head, on referring to Mr. Humbuldi's Travels in America it will be found that the existence of this ruined city was known to that traveller, who not only makes mention of its existence, but has inserted an engraving from one of the pictorial illustrations of the present volume.

    The editor of this account of the discovered city farther remarks, that references will be found to drawings mentioned by Captain Del Rio, which did not fall into the hands of the possessor of these details, while other designs are described which do not appear to coincide precisely with any of the accompanying plates. But on this point he observes, that he has presented to the world every relic in his possession, and has no doubt but the spirit of enquiry will be powerfully awakened by the results of the matter which he has given.

    In this matter, the dissertation of Doctor Cabrera is incomparably the least interesting part. He is learned, but very superstitious, and wildly speculative. The Spanish Captain's account of what he excavated and saw forms the kernel of the book. We shall abridge a few scattered passages which illustrate the curious subject of the ancient stone buildings which lie explored. These lhouses are situated on a height, and are fourteen in number, some of them being more dilapidated than others, but still having many of their apartments perfectly discernible. A rectangular area, three hundred yards in breadth, by four hundred and fifty in length, presents a plain at the base of the highest mountain forming a ridge; and in the centre is situated the largest of these structures which has been as yet discovered. It stands on a mound twenty yards high, and is surrounded by the other edifices. Besides the fourteen buildings already mentioned, the fragments of other fallen houses are to be seen extending in all directions along the mountain that stretches east and west about three or four leagues either way, so that, according to Captain Del Rio, the whole range of this ruined town may be computed to have extended between seven and eight leagues; but its breadth is by no means equal to its length, being little more than half a league wide at the point where the ruins terminate. Besides great beauty of situation, Capt. Del Rio thinks that this town must have possessed from its soil and climate an abundance of the necessaries of life. This is apparent from such wild fruits as the Sapotes, Acquacates, Cumotes. Yuca or Cassava, and plantains, being found in great plenty. The rivers abound with fish, viz. the Moharra Bobo and turtle, as the smaller streams do with crabs and the lesser species of shell-fish. The laborious workmanship of their edifices, constructed without the assistance of iron or other metals, at least demonstrate that numbers must have been supported in the performance of such labours on food raised for them by others. The interior of the largest building is in a style of architecture strongly resembling the Gothic, and from its rude and massive construction promises great durability. The entrance is on the eastern side by a portico or corridor, thirty-six yards in length and three In breadth, supported by plain rectangular pillars, without either bases or pedestals; upon which there are square smooth stones of more than a foot in thickness, forming an architrave, while on the exterior superficies are species of stucco shields, with designs. * Over these a stones there is another plain rectangular block, five feet long and six broad, extending over two of the pillars. Medallions or compartments in stucco, containing different devices of the same material, appear as decorations to the chambers; and it is presumable from the vestiges of the heads which can still be traced, that they were the busts of a series of kings or lords to whom the natives were subject. Between the medallions there is a range of windows like niches, passing from one end of the wall to the other: some of them are in the form of a Greek cross -- others are square, and about two feet high and eight inches deep. Beyond this corridor there is a square court, entered by a flight of seven steps. The north side is entirely in ruins, but sufficient traces remain to shew thai it once had a chamber and corridor similar to those on the eastern side, and which continued entirely along the several angles. The south side has four small chambers with a few windows like those already described. The western side is correspondent to its opposite in all respects, but in the variety of expression in the figures of stucco. These are much more rude and ridiculous than the others, and can only be attributed to the most uncultivated Indian capacity. The device device is a sort of a grotesque masque, with a crown and long beard like that of a goat. He describes another court, in which there were two chambers like those above-mentioned, and an interior gallery looking on one side upon the court-yard and commanding on the other a view of the open country. In this part of the edifice, Captain Del Rio found some pollars with relievos, apparently representing the mournful subject of a human sacrifuce. The Captain transported with him the head of the sufferer, and the foot and leg of the executioner, as specimens of the sculpture and stucco.

    It would not be fair to make mire copious extracts from a work which, though curious, is but short: at least the descriptive part is not extensive. On the whole, we have read it with a satisfactory anticipation that it will lead the way to still further research and discoveries of American antiquities. Of these buildings and sculpture being of a date long anterior to the occupation of America by the Spaniards, we see no possibility of entertaining a doubt. It is true, that the occurrence of the figure of a Greek cross might induce a casual observer to suspect, that this ornament in the Palencian city had connexion with Christianity; but it is well known to all who are conversant with ancient mythology, that the figure of a cross wat often introduced in the symbols of superstition, much older than Christianity. The augural staff of the Romans, and the Egyptian staff of Osiris, were of this form. Every thing else in these relics denotes people unconnected with Christianity. They often seem to remind us of Egyptian costume end ornament. The noses are peculiarly high and prominent in the physiognomics, which, together with thick and underhung lips, make them as different from the present race of Mexicans as are the black Egyptians of the present day to the brickdust-coloured representations of the natives of antiquity.

    * These designs are spoken of by Captain Rio as accompanying his Report, and numbered 1, 2, 3. Among the lithographic designs given in the Work before us, there are figures which have every appearance of representing shields; but Mr. Berthoud has given no numeral arrangement to the designs of his book, so that we only guess these to be the shields described by Captain Del Rio.


    Don Domingo Juarros
    Statistical... History of
    The Kingdom of Guatemala

    London: John Hearne, 1823

  • pp. 18-19

  • pp. 207-09

  • [ 18-19 ]

    St. Bartholomew de los Llanos is also a very large village; it has two churches, and the population, including that of some contiguous cultivated possessions, amounts to 7410 souls.

    St. Domingo Comitan, is the residence of the deputy-intendant of the province, and celebrated for its commerce; there is a good convent of the Dominicans; with the inhabitants of some neighbouring plantations the population amounts to 6815 persons.

    St. Jacinto Ocosingo, chief place of the province of Tzendales, has more than 3000 inhabitants.

    St. Domingo Palenque a village in the province of Tzendales, on the borders of the intendancies of Ciudad Real and Yucatan. It is the head of a curacy; in a wild and salubrious climate, but very thinly inhabited, and now celebrated from having within its jurisdiction the vestiges of a very opulent city, which has been named Ciudad del Palenque; doubtless, formerly the capital of an empire whose history no longer exists. This metropolis, -- like another Herculaneum, notindeed overwhelmed by the torrent of another Vesuvius, but concealed for ages in the midst of a vast desert, -- remained unknown until the middle of the eighteenth century, when some Spaniards having penetrated the dreary solitude, found themselves, to their great astonishment, within sight of the remains of what once had been a superb city, of six leagues in circumference; the solidity of its edifices, the stateliness of its palaces, and the magnificence of its public works, were not surpassed in importance by its vast extent; temples, altars, deities, sculptures, and monumental stones, bear testimony to its great antiquity. The hieroglyphics, symbols, and emblems, which have been discovered in the temples, bear so strong a resemblance to those of the Egyptians, as to encourage the supposition that a colony of that nation may have founded the city of Palenque, or Culhuacan. The same opinion may be formed respecting that of Tulha, the ruins of which are still to be seen near the village of Ocosingo in the same district. ...

    [ 207-209 ]

    CHAP. IX.

    Of the Southern Provinces of Guatemala.


    The native authors do not agree in their accounts of the origin of the Indians of this district. Antonio de Remesal, in his History of the Province of St. Vincent de Chiapa and Guatemala, (lib. 5, cap. 13,) positively asserts, that the people of Chiapa originally came from the province of Nicaragua. The Quiche; manuscript, already spoken of, says, that the Quelenes and Chapanecos are descendants of a brother of King Nimaquiche, who accompanied him from the city of Tula. Nunez de la Vega, bishop of Chiapa, in the preface to his Diocesan Constitutions, states, that he met with certain calendars in the language of these Indians, in which mention was made of 20 lords, or heads of families, from whom it appears this people derived their origin. Their names were Ninus, or Mox, Ygh, Votan, Ghanan, Abagh, Tox, Moxic, Lambat, Molo, or Mulu, Elab, Batz, Evob, Been, Hix, Tziquin, Chabin, Chic, Chinax, Cahogh, and Aghual. Of all these magnates, Votan seems to have been the most celebrated personage, as a separate work is devoted to his particular history. In this he is said to have seen the great wall (by which the tower of Babel is meant) that was built by order of his grandfather Noe, from the earth to the sky; and that, at this place, to every people a different language was given. It farther says, that Votan was the first person whom God sent to this country, to divide the lands, and apportion them among the Indians; and adds, that Votan was at Huehueta, a town of Soconusco, where he introduced Dantas, and concealed a treasure. This treasure was discovered in a cave by Nunez de la Vega; it consisted of some earthen jars, on which were represented figures of the ancient Gentile Indians. If credit be given to the manuscripts, it follows that we must consider these regions to have been peopled shortly after the deluge; since Votan, who was at Babel when they were building the tower, and the human race was dispersed and separated by different languages, was one of the founders of the Indian population. By parity of reasoning we must also admit, that the languages of these provinces are some of the primitive dialects, into which the Almighty divided the language of the post-diluvian patriarchs. From the same cause we shall be led to believe, that the first inhabitants of America did not, according to the most generally received opinion, arrive at it by way of the straits of Anian; for had that been the fact, many years, and many generations, must have passed away before they could have extended thence into these regions under the torrid zone, at a distance so immense from the straits.

    One fact, however, is beyond controversy, viz. that this province was inhabited by a powerful and polished people, who maintained an intercourse with the Egyptians, as the sumptuous cities of Culhuacan and Tulha, vestiges of which yet remain near the towns of Palenque and Ocosingo, evidently demonstrate. In the first, some remaining buildings are objects of admiration, and afford sufficient evidence that Culhuacan once rivalled in magnificence the most celebrated capitals of the old world. Stately temples, in which many hieroglyphics, symbols, devices, and traces of fabulous mythology, have resisted the effect of time: portions of superb palaces still remain; and an aqueduct, of sufficient dimensions for a man to walk upright in, yet exists almost entire. Previous, however, to the arrival of the Spaniards, this province had so much declined from its ancient splendour, that they found neither inhabited city nor building worthy of their attention, nor civilization or polity in the inhabitants.

    Remesal, continuing the history of the Chapanecos from the place before cited, says, that the Indians who had migrated from Nicaragua, determined upon remaining on the lands of Chiapa, and made choice of a steep mountain with a rocky summit, near the margin of a river, and of very difficult access, on which they settled their colony; there they fortified themselves as strongly as they could, resolving never to submit to the dominion of the Mexicans. When the empire of the latter was overthrown, the Indians of Chiapa, in the name of themselves, and of the nations of the Zoques, Celtales, and Quelenes, whom they had brought under their subjection by force, made an offer to Cortes of acknowledging themselves vassals of the king of Castile. The historian does not name the person who was deputed by Cortes to receive this homage; but he says the natives were soon disgusted by the conduct of the Spaniards, and revolted from their new allegiance in 1524. As soon as intelligence of this insurrection was brought to Cortes, he detached Diego de Mazariegos, with 150 soldiers and 40 horses, to quell it. The expedition was joined by many principal persons, who wished to withdraw from the disunion which had then commenced in Mexico, and by a great number of Mexican and Tlascaltecan Indians. Mazariegos, by his prudence and moderation, easily and speedily persuaded the Chapanecos to submit; and immediately returned to Mexico, but with the design of coming back to settle in this province, to prevent future insubordination. During his absence, the Chapanecos again became refractory, and the affairs of the Spaniards were placed in a situation much worse than they were during the first tumult.

    Bernal Diaz del Castillo, an author of veracity and candour, narrates the events of this conquest...


    John V. Yates and
    Joseph W. Moulton
    History of New-York

    NYC: A. T. Goodrich, 1824

  • pp. 19-21

  • pp. 72-79 (especially)

  • (more excerpts)

  • [ 19-21 ]

    ... On the south of Lake Ontario, are two alluvial formations, of which the most recent is north of the ridge road. No forts have been discovered on it, although many have been observed south of the mountain ridge. The non-existence of forts on the secondary or primary alluvial formations of Lake Ontario, is a strong circumstance, from which the remote antiquity of those on the highlands to the south may be deduced; because, if they had been erected after the first or last retreat of the lake, they would undoubtedly have been made on them as most convenient, and best adapted for all military, civil, and domestic purposes.

    These remains of art may be viewed as connecting links of a great chain, which extends beyond the confines of our state, and becomes more magnificent and curious as we recede from the northern lakes, pass through Ohio into the great vale of the Mississippi, thence to the Gulf of Mexico, through Texas into New Mexico and South America. In this vast range of more than three thousand miles, these monuments of ancient skill gradually become more remarkable for their number, magnitude, and interesting variety, until we are lost in admiration and astonishment, to find, as Baron Humboldt informs us, in a world which we call new, ancient institutions, religious ideas, and forms of edifices, similar to those of Asia, which there seem to go back to the dawn of civilization.

    Over the great secondary region of the Ohio, are the ruins of what once were forts, cemeteries, temples, altars, camps, towns, villages, race-grounds and other places of amusement, habitations of chieftains, videttes, watch-towers, and monuments.

    It is, says Mr. Atwater, nothing but one vast cemetery of the beings of the beings of past ages. Man and his works, the mammoth, tropical animals, the cassia tree and other tropical plants, are here reposing together in the same formation. By what catastrophe they were overwhelmed and buried in the same strata, it would be impossible to say, unless it was by that of the general deluge.

    In the valley of the Mississippi, the monuments of buried nations are unsurpassed in magnitude and melancholy grandeur by any in North America. Here cities have been traced. similar to those of ancient Mexico, once containing hundreds of thousands of souls. Here are to be seen thousands of tumuli, some a hundred feet high, others many hundred feet in circumference, the places of their sepulchre, their worship, and perhaps of their defence. Similar mounds are scattered throughout the continent, from the shores of the Pacific into the interior of our state, as far as Black river, and from the lakes to South America.

    There is one class of antiquities which present themselves on digging from thirty to fifty feet below the surface of the ground. They occur in the form of firebrands split wood, ashes, coals, and occasionally tools and utensils, buried to these depths by the alluvion. They have been observed (as Dr. Mitchell says he was informed) in Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, and elsewhere. When facts of this description, so curious for the inquisitive geologist and historian, shall have been collected and methodized, light may possibly be shed upon the remote Pelasgians, and upon the traditionary Atlantides.

    Philosophers and antiquaries concur in opinion, that these remains of art evince the remote existence of nations far more civilized than the indigenes of the present race; than, at least, of any known tribes of North America.

    The antiquities of this state are, in the opinion of Mr. Clinton, demonstrative evidence of the existence of a vast population settled in towns, defended by forts, cultivating agriculture, and more advanced in civilization than the nations which have inhabited the same countries since the European discovery.

    It is in reference to the stupendous and curious works of art, and not to mere mounds, that this coincidence in opinion appears. Mounds may indicate a race different indeed from the present, without evidencing any extraordinary advancement in improvement. Serving as sepulchres and altars, whereupon the officiating priests could be seen by the surrounding worshippers, they might be traced from Wales, across the Russian empire, to our continent, and from the shores of the Pacific to the eastern end of lake Ontario....

    The inquiries now arise: -- Who erected these works? Whence originated these wonderful people? Were they the primitive ancestors of the indigenes of our state? What is the story of their first migration and settlements; their progress from rudeness to comparative refinement; their retrogression into barbarism? What terrible disasters precipitated their ruin, exterminated their national existence, and blotted out their name, perhaps for ever? In reply -- while there are a few remnants of tradition to guide inquiry, and volumes of conjecturers to bewilder, not one authentic record remains of even the name of any of these populous and powerful nations.

    In the revolutions of other people, in the downfall of other empires, relics are found, spots visited, architectural ruins traced, which history, or poetry, or mythological fable has identified with the fame and fate of the nation, or of some hero, statesman, philosopher, poet, orator, or artist, who was its ornament, and who reflected glory upon the age in which he flourished.

    The classic remains of Greece and Italy, the venerable relics of Carthagenian and Egyptian antiquity, the spot where Ilium towered, and the ground over which were strewed the remains of Asia Minor, are associated with the reminiscences painfully pleasing, but memorably instructive and impressive....

    But who can trace amid the ruins of the temples, and groves, and fortifications, and once flourishing seats of the aborigines, the rise, progress, and decline of a single nation, tribe, or once celebrated individual, as distinguishable from the common mass of millions, who have been swallowed into the abyss of successive ages? Where are their sages, their heroes, their politicians, their orators, their poets, their artists, their historians? All, all are covered by a pall, and invested with a sleep, more impenetrable and profound than the total darkness and deep slumber of the middle ages!

    Whatever has survived in the shape of tradition, deserves to be recorded....

    72.            Origin of the Aborigines and ancient Ruins.            [Part 1.

    § 14.

    Mr. Jefferson was of opinion that emigrants might have easily passed from the north-east of Asia, or north-west of Europe into America; but he considered the red Americans more ancient than those of Asia, upon the assumption that radical changes of language among the former have taken place in greater numbers, than they have among the latter. *

    Some philosophers, considering this continent coexistent with that of Asia, are not more willing to yield to the latter any claim to remote antiquity over the former, then they are to Europe a pretension to physical superiority, so arrogantly maintained by Du Pauw and Buffon, but so ably refuted by Mr. Jefferson and the Abbe Clavigero.

    We hereto fore observed that Baron Humboldt (54) was astonished to find in the New World, so called, institutions, religious ideas, and edifaces, flourishing in the fifteenth century, which in Asia indicated the dawn of civilization. Abbe Clavigero (55) thought the first American people descended from different families after the confusion of tongues, and that the language and customs of the Asiatics will in vain be examined for the origin of the people of the New World. It is his belief that there has been an equinoctial union of America and Africa, as well as a former connexion at the north with Asia and Europe.

    § 15.

    Siquenza (whose opinion was adopted by Bishop Huet) supposed that the Mexicans belonged to the posterity of Naphtuhim, and that their ancestors left Egypt not long after the confusion of tongues, and travelled towards America. This is a conjecture which Abbe Clavigero considers well supported, but not sufficiently sustained to be pronounced a truth.

    * Notes on Virginia. See Dr. Jarvis's Discourse, note C. in Vol. III, N. Y. Hist. Coll. p. 227-228.

    § 15.]                           Romans -- Africans -- Votan.                           73.

    The ruins of an ancient city near Palenque, in the province of Chiapa, and kingdom of Guatemala, in Spanish America, are described as exhibiting the remains of magnificent edifaces, temples, towers, aqueducts, statues, hieroglyphics, and unknown characters. This city (since called the Palencian city) was first discovered by Captain Antonio Del Rio, in 1787. He says in his report, * that the town appears to have been seven or eight leagues in length, and at least half a league in breadth; that from a Romish similarity in location, in that of a subterranean stone aquaduct, and from certain figures in Stucco, he thought that an intercourse once existed between the original natives and Romans. The Palencian edifices are of very remote antiquity, having been buried for many ages in the impenetrable thickets covering the mountains, and unknown to the historians of the new world.

    Among the few historical works that escaped the flames of the Spanish conquerors, (who destroyed most of the memorials of the natives) was an ancient narrative, which is said to have fallen into the hands of the bishop of Chiapa, who refers to it in his Diocesan Constitution, printed at Rome, 1702. This was the narrative of Votan, which it is conjectured by Doct. Cabrera, of New Guatemala, † may still be extant. A copy (as Doct. C. believes) of the original, in hieroglyphics, (taken soon after the conquest) was communicated to him in a memior from a learned friend.

    From an interpretation of this copy of the hieroglyphic narrative of Votan, he is made to say, that he conducted seven families from Valum Votan to this continent, and assigned lands to them; that he is the third of the Votans; that having determined to travel till he arrived at the root of heaven, in

    * See Description of the Ruins of an Ancient City, &c. from the MS of Don Antonio del Rio, and Teatro Critico Americano, or Critical Investigation, &c. into the history of the Americans, by Doct. Paul Felix Cabrera, Lond. 1822.

    † Ib. Descrip. of Ruins, &c.

    74.            Origin of the Aborigines and ancient Ruins.            [Part 1.

    order to discover his relations, the Culebreas, * and make himself known to them, he made four voyages to Chivim; that he arrived in Spain, and went to Rome; that he saw the great house of God building, &c.

    According to Doctor Cabrera's hypothesis, the figures and deities of the Palacian city, and particularly the hieroglyphics, are Egyptian. A maritime communication existed between the American and African continents, in the very remotest ages of antiquity. The grandfather of Votan was a Hivite, originally of Tripoli, in Syria, (of a nation famous for having produced Cadmus) and was the first populator of the New World. That Votan, his grandson, made four voyages to the old continent, and landed at Tripoli. The earliest inhabitants consequently came from the east to America, proceeded from its eastern part to the northward, and again descended. At any rate, this, according to Dr. Cabrara, is the solution of the grand historical problem, so far as it regards the first peopling of the countries bordering on the Gulf of Mexico, and islands adjacent. He admits, that from various accidents since the introduction of the art of navigation, it is probable that many other families, besides those conducted hither by Votan, may have been conveyed to different parts of America and formed settlements.

    Among the ruins of the Palacian city, were found several figures and idols. Agreeably to the Doctor's interpretation of these figures, Votan is represented thereon as on both continents, with an historical event, the memory of which he was desirous of transmitting to future ages. His voyages to, and return from, the old continent, are also depicted. One of the idols, bearing a mitre or cap, with bull's horns, and found in the temple of the city, is the Osiris, and another, the Isis of the Egyptians. These transmarine deities were known also to the Greeks, Romans, and Phoenicians.

    * How striking are these incidents, compared with those related of Madoc! See p. 54, and note 22. Are the words Valum Votan, Culebras, Chivim, &c. of Welsh etymology?

    § 15.]                                             Votan.                                            75.

    In order to sustain his conclusion, the Doctor is forced to enter upon a train of bold conjecture. The speeches of Montezuma, (who has already been claimed as the descendant of Madoc by his advocates) to Cortes, on his submission to the domination of Charles V, and his address to the chiefs and caciques, are supposed to refer to the arrival and departure of Votan.

    In the range of his conjectures, while attempting to trace the affinity of Votan's grandfather with the ancient Hivites, their migration to Egypt, and the antiquity of Votan's voyage, and those of his grandson, the Doctor enters learnedly into ancient mythology, and lays much stress upon the opinion of the benedictine Calmet, in his commentary on the Old Testament, and upon Hornius, as cited by Calmet.

    Accordingly, on the ingress of the Hebrews into Palestine, and in consequence of the Hebrew wars, the Canaanites, who were expelled by Joshua and the judges, fled into Egypt, persued their course to the remotest regions of frica, having occupied its coasts gradually, as they were oppressed by the Hebrew wars, (though many of the Hivites abandoned their dwellings before Joshua entered Palestine;) that these colonies existed prior to the Trojan was, (the era of which is 240 years after the death of Joshua) became Greeks returning thence, found that every part of the coast of Africa where they landed, had been already peopled by the Phoenicians; that on this point, Greek and Latin writers agree, according to the testimony of Bochart, in his work entitled Canaan, and of Hornius, on the origin of the people of America, lib. 2, cap. 3, 4, quoted by Calmet. Hence the foundation of the first colony in America, by the grandfather of Votan. Hornius, supported by the authority of Strabo, affirms, as certain, that voyages from Africa and Spain into the Atlantic Ocean, were both frequent and celebrated, adding, from Strabo, that Eudoxius, sailing from the Arabian gulf to Ethiopia and India, found the prow of a ship that had been wrecked, which, from having the head of a horse carved on it, he knew belonged to a Phoenician bark, and some Gaditani merchents declared it

    76.            Origin of the Aborigines and ancient Ruins.            [Part 1.

    to have been a fishing vessel. Laertius relates nearly the same circumstance. Hornius says, that in very remote ages, three voyages were made to America, the first by Atlantes, or descendants of Atlas, who gave his name to the ocean, and the islands, Alantides: this name Plato appears to have learned from the Egyptian priests, the general custodes of antiquity. The secod voyage, mentioned by Hornius, is given on the authority of Diodorus Siculus, lib. 5, cap. 19, where he says, the Phoenicians, having passed the columns of Hercules, and impelled by the violence of the winds, abandoned themselves to its fury; and after experiencing many tempests; were driven upon an island in the Atlantic Ocean, distant many days sail to the westward of the coast of Lybia. This island, upon which were large buildings, had a fertile soil, and navigable rivers. The report of this discovery soon spread among the Carthaginians and Romans, the former being harrased by the wars of the latter, and the people of Mauritania, sent a colony to that island with great secrecy, that, in the event of being overcome by their enemies, they might possess a place of retreat.

    But acccording to Doct. Cabrera, Votan's ancestors must have emigrated prior to this second voyage of the Phoenicians, for the latter found houses, &c. and anterior to the Punic wars.

    The other voyage in the Atlantic, spoken of by Calmet, was anterior to the preceeding, and is that attributed to Hercules, who is the supposed author of the Gaditanian columns, and whom Calleo ranks as contemporary with Moses, and chief of the Canaanites, who left Palestine on the invasion of Joshua. The Hivites founded the kingdom of Tyre. Sallus affirms, that the soldiers of Hercules Tyrius, and their wives, spoke the African language. Diodorus asserts, that one Hercules navigated the whole circuit of the earth, and built the city of Alecta in Septimania. From what Doct. Cabrera considers an irrefragable body of evidence, founded upon the coincidence of the memorials of writers of the old continent,

    § 16.]                                             Votan.                                            77.

    Votan, the grandson of Hercules, and author of the narrative, was the third of his race, and flourished between three and four hundred years before the Christian era. The Romans and Carthaginians derived their first knowledge of America from Votan himself, on his return to the old continent, and his visit to Rome; and the first Carthaginian colony was sent previous to the first Punic war, and after the information thus communicated.

    This hypothesis is not, it seems, founded upon that of an ancient union of the two continents.

    § 16.

    So formidable, however, have been the interposing difficulties, as viewed by the learned, in arriving at any certainty when and whence came the first people of America, and how and when animals first appeared there, * that many suppose, (for instance, Acosta, Grotius, Buffon, and Abbe Clavigero,) that this continent was once connected with the old continents, and by some great convulsion, the communications have been destroyed. There cannot be any doubt that our planet has

    * See Barton'd Views. Reese's New Cyclop.

    78.            Origin of the Aborigines and ancient Ruins.            [Part 1.

    been subject to great vicissitudes since the deluge. Lands over which ships once sailed, are now the seats of cultivation; lands which were formerly cultivated, are now covered by water. Earthquakes have swallowed some lands, subterraneous fires have thrown up others. Rivers have formed new soil with their mud; the sea has retreated from shores and lengthened the land; or advancing, diminished it, or separated territories which were united, and formed new straits and gulfs. Pliny, Seneca, Diodorus, and Strabo, report a great many instances of such vicissitudes. According to them, Spain and Africa were united, and by a violent irruption of the ocean upon the land between the mountains Abyla and Calpe, that communication was broken, and the Mediterranean sea formed. Sicily had been united to the continent with Naples, and Eubes, (the Black sea,) to Boeotia. The people of Ceylon have a tradition that an irruption of the sea separated their island from the peninsula of India; so those of Malabar, with respect to the isles of Malvidia; and by the Malayans with respect to Sumatra. (56) It is certain, says the Count de Buffon, that in Ceylon the earth has lost by the sea thirty or forty leagues, while Tongres, a place in the low countries, has gained thirty leagues of land from the sea. The northern part of Egypt owes its existence to the innundation of the Nile. The earth which this river has brought from the inland countries of Africa, and deposited in its innundations, has formed a soil more than twenty-five cubits of depth. * In like manner, adds the above author, the province of the Yellow river in China, and that of Louisiana, have been formed from the mud of rivers. The peninsula of Yucatan, in America, no doubt was once the bed of the sea. In the channel of the Bahama, indications appear of a former existing union of Cuba with Florida. In the strait which separates America from Asia, are many islands, which probably were the mountains belonging to that tract of land, which we suppose to have been swallowed by earthquakes, a probability

    * Ali Bey maintains (in his travels) that the great African desert was once an ocean.

    § 16.]                                 Union of Continents.                                79.

    strengthened by the knowledge we have of the multitude of volcanos in the peninsula of Kamschatka. The sinking of that land, and the separation of the two continents, however, is imagined to have been occasioned by those great and extraordinary earthquakes mentioned in the history of the Americans, which formed an era almost as memorable as that of the deluge. (57) Abbe Clavigero is pursuaded that there was an ancient union between the equinoctial countries of America and those of Africa, and a united continuation of the northern countries of America with those of Europe or Asia; the latter affording a passage for beasts of cold climes, the former for quadrupeds and reptiles peculiar to hot climes. He also believes that there was formerly a great tract of land, which united the now most eastern part of Brazil to the most western part of Africa, and that all that space of land may have been sunk by some violent earthquakes, leaving only some traces of it in the isles of Cape de Verd, Fernando de Norona, Ascension, St. Matthew, and others, and the many sand-banks discovered by different navigators, and particularly by De Bauche, who sounded the sea with particular care and exactness. Those islands and sand-banks may probably have been the highest parts of that sunken continent. It is also the belief of the Abbe Clavigero, that the most westerly part of America was formerly united by means of a smaller continent to the most easterly part of Tartary, and perhaps America was united also by Greenland with the northern countries of Europe. Dr. Foster entertained an opinion, which however he afterwards questioned, that Friesland, (larger according to Hakluyt than Ireland) to which the Venetian Zenos in the beginning of the fourteenth century proceeded, and thence advantured at sea for years in the service of Sichmi, the enterprising chief of the island, was situated between Iceland and Greenland, and has since been swallowed by the sea in a great earthquake. Dr. Belknap * coincided in this opinion...

    * American Biog. V. I. p. 74.


    "Ruines de Palenqué"
    Recueil de voyages
    et de mémoires II

    trans. by. J. B. Warden
    Paris: 1825

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    "Review of Books"
    The Asiatic Journal
    and Monthly Miscellany

    Vol. XX No. 118
    London: Oct. 1825

  • pp. 425-440
  • p. 427 (especially)

  • [ 425-429 ]

    Review  of  Books.

    Essay on Dr. Young's and M. Champollion's Phonetic System of Hieroglyphics, with some additional Discoveries, &c., by which it may be aplied to decypher the names of the Ancient Kings of Egypt and Ethopia. By H. Salt, Esq., His Britannic Majesty's Consul-General in Egypt. London, 1825. 8vo.

    One great distinction between the English and French schools of Egyptian research is, that the latter, elevated by the sublimity of the subject, as well as prompted by national character, have been inclined to impute too exorbitant an antiquity to Egyptian monuments; whereas the former, following the more modest footsteps of Mr. W. HamHton, and the colder genius of their country, have been induced to consider many of those monuments capable of illustration by comparison with Greek and Roman inscriptions, and are disposed to infer their comparatively recent origin. The difference is very great, -- one carrying back the date of certain Egyptian monuments to the period succeeding the flood; the other limiting their antiquity to a period immediately preceding and succeeding the Christian aera. In our view, both schools are wrong: ultraism, in fact, is always wrong. In medio tutissimus ibis. In this, as in every thing else, the golden mean is most likely to be nearest the truth.

    The same distinction reigns throughout the rival pretensions of Dr. Young and M. Champollion. Dr. Young, in his phonetic illustration of proper names, has, with one or two exceptions, stopped at the names of the Greek and Roman potentates of Egypt M. Champollion has carried his system of phonetic interpretation into the remotest dynasties of Egypt. So, in valuing the antiquity of Belzoni's excavation, Dr. Young has brought down the date to the period of a prince living about 500 years before the Christian aera; and committed the mistake of burying one of the Saite dynasty, at Thebes. M. Champollion has referred the date to the remote ages of Memnon and Sesostris, and with greater probability, as it will be shewn; since the latter were of the Diospolite dynasty of the Egyptian kings, and were certainly buried within the vicinity of the above excavation at Thebes. In the same spirit, Dr. Young ridicules the metaphysical interpretation of his predecessors, Zoega, Palin, Pauw, and especially Kircher. Having hitherto met with nothing but fulsome triumphal inscriptions, or deeds for the conveyance of land, he is inclined to rate the far-famed "Egyptian wisdom" very low; to entertain great doubts that Plato, Pythagoras, and the Greek philosophers, derived any "solid knowledge" from Egyptians; to presume that they had neither astronomical, nor geometrical records; and to join in the contempt and ridicule which Juvenal scatters upon them. M. Champollion, and the French Savant, on the contrary, are inclined to infer that, next to the Hebrew scriptures, the hieroglyphics will, when decyphered, be found to contain the most important records of man's origin and progressive civilization which have ever been submitted to the world.

    As Mr. Salt, in the preface to his work, recording the additions he has made to the discoveries of Dr. Young and M. Champollion, states that he presumes the reader to be familiar with the state of Egyptian inquiry at the point of time where he takes up the thread of it; it will be necessary, for a correct appreciation of his labours, and those of his English and French allies, to give
    a succinct detail of the progress and condition of Egyptian research, as effected by modern inquirers, up to the present time.

    Father Kircher's six volumes contain some faithful though inelegant representations of such Egyptian monuments as had, before his days, been brought to Europe. Prepossessed with the idea that they contained the most profound and mysterious doctrines of philosophy, theology, and metaphysics, he adapts his system to the hieroglyphics, instead of deriving it from them. It is a petitio principii throughout. Any given modern discovery or theory in physics, or metaphysics, might, upon his principle, be discovered in certain hieroglyphics; and all human invention be shifted on the "Atlantean shoulders" of Egyptian wisdom. However, the "learned visionary," as Warburton calls him, has been content with discovering among the sculptured archives of the vanished kingdom of the Pharoahs, the theological mysteries of the church, handed down from Adam to Ham, and from him to the Egyptians. The original inscriptions, according to him, are due either to Seth, Enoch, or Mizraim; and this miracle attends his interpretation -- that it has the advantage of being able to succeed equally well, whether he begins at the end of any series of figures, or takes Rabelais's advice, and "begins at the beginning."

    One ridiculous circumstance, connected with the learned Jesuit's interpretation is, that the Pamphilian and Barberinian obelisks, on both of which he has expended a folio of research, have been since discovered to be spurious imitations of the Egyptian style, consisting of emblems put together in a manner entirely arbitrary, and sculptured by Roman artists. It is right, however, that justice should be done to Kircher. In his metaphysical interpretation of the Egyptian monuments, he is supported by the whole body of the latter Platonists. It is still more certain, and more "germane to the matter," though neither M. Champollion nor Dr. Young has acknowledged the prior claim, that the first, discoveries in phonetic illustration of names were made by him. This, a reference to his Prodromus Copticus will prove: it is true, that he gave a syllabic power, rather than an initial, to his phonetic signs; but this is the very charge that M. Champollion brings against Dr. Young. Thus, if Kircher discovered in the cognominal tablet over an Egyptian personage a pomegranate, he would call the: name of the individual Erman, that being the Coptic name for the sign; and this, on the principle of modern heraldry, which represents a man's name in the same manner; namely, a hammer or mallet for the Mallets; a lion for the Lyons, &c. So Dr. Young, in the case of Berenice, interprets the first symbol -- a basket, syllabically, ber; while M. Champollion gives it only the initial power of the consonant B. It is our opinion, that, notwithstanding Dr. Young is inclined to recant on this point, both he and Kircher will be found to be in many cases right; and the more so, because we are convinced that modern heraldry is a fragment of the hieroglyphical language, and warrants the syllabic interpretation. That this was partly the case, in enchorial representations of proper names, ia proved by instances adduced by Dr. Young himself; thus, in the names Amonrasonther and Amonorytius,* the first part of each name is written syllabically, by means of the symbol of the god Amon ; the latter phonetically, or alphabetically.

    The Chevalier Palin, in his mode of interpreting the hieroglyphics, is still more open to ridicule than the Jesuit Kircher. Instead of beginning at the commencement or the end, he, in one instance, by way of variety, begins in the middle; and instead of discovering that the hieroglyphics were executed
    by the chisel of Enoch or the graving tool of Seth, he finds that Hebrew translations of many of the Egyptian roils of papyrus are to be found in the Bible, under the title of the "Psalms of David!" De Pauw follows a similar track, apprizing us that we have nothing to do but to translate the Psalms of David into Chinese, and to write them in the ancient character of that language, in order to reproduce the Egyptian papyri that were found with the mummies! Zoega is more frank; for, after encumbering the field of letters with his ponderous volume on the obelisks, and after collecting all that was really on record, he very candidly confesses that the sum and substance of the whole amount to nothing! Baron Humboldt's theory of the analogy between the Egyptian and Mexican monuments is deeply interesting and ingenious; but it does not bear on the subject of inquiry into the phonetic system. Del Rio's work on the Ruined Palencian City in Guatemala is more to the purpose. The tablets over the heads of Mexican heroes, represented in the plates, demonstrate that the Mexican mode of distinguishing names was generally similar to that of the Egyptians; it was, however, syllabic or heraldic -- as in the instance of Acamapolzin, whose device was a hand grasping reeds, which the name signifies; and Chimalpoca, the cognominal symbol being a shield emitting smoke, which the name also implies.

    We have already done justice to Kircher respecting his prior claim to the phonetic system. A similar justice is due to our own countryman Warburton, who, in his "Divine Legation," has entirely anticipated Champollion. We should rather say that Champollion has borrowed his system without acknowledging it. Warburton's theory is this: the first kind of writing consisted in the pictures of things (these are what M. Champollion calls anaglyphs); but the bulk of such memorials rendering abridgment indispensable, necessity introduced the system of hieroglyphics, which effected its purpose by three ways: 1st. By substituting a circumstance for the whole of an event; 2d. by substituting simple marks for the outlines of the pictures, which may be called the running hand of hieroglyphics; 3d. by what Clemens Alexandrinus calls the epistolographic method, from whence there is an easy transition to the alphabet. Such is the borrowed theory of Champollion. With regard even to the discovery of the phonetic signs or alphabet, Warburton, in the same work, infers the derivation of alphabets, as M. Champollion does, from hieroglyphics, and proves it in the same way, viz. by the retention of the symbolic names for each sign or letter. The description of Clemens Alexandrinus is to the same effect; the 1st arrangement of the Egyptian letters was the epistolographic, which was peculiar to the people; 2d, the hieratic, which was peculiar to the priests; and 3d, the hieroglyphic, which was again subdivided into kyriologic, or phonetic, and symbolic. Thus the symbolic and the phonetic characters were used contemporaneously: and the symbolic letters were again subdivided into 1st, the imitative; 2d, the tropical, or figurative (including anaglyphs); and 3d, the enigmatical.

    The more, therefore, we sift the matter, the more we shall be convinced that the phonetic system is not a modern discovery. Two more circumstances will complete the proof of bad faith or singular ignorance in the pretended discoverers: 1st. the Chinese language (and it has always been stated by those who have employed themselves upon it) has possessed a phonetic system, for the purpose of representing the sounds of names, from time immemorial; and 2d, the Hebrew alphabet (a fact on which Kircher founded his syllabical phonetic process) consists even now of the fragments of phonetic signs, which retain their old names, as aleph, a bird; beth, a house; gimel
    a camel. Many of these Hebrew phonetic signs are the ???? ?? those composing Dr. Young's phonetic alphabet. The fact is, that the Hebrew language might be entirely written to this day in phonetic symbols, as well as in alphabetical characters.

    Having thus reduced the pretended modern discovery of the phonetic system to its real value, the road is clear for deciding between the rival pretensions of Dr. Young and Champollion, as to which of them was the first to apply the system to the interpretation of sculptured proper names. On fair consideration, we do not hesitate to award the palm, such as it is, to Dr. Young. M. Champollion, with some periphrasis, appears to admit that Dr. Young first interpreted the names of Ptolemy and Berenice: but he attempts to subvert his claim by the allegation that the discovery was not scientifically made; and that Dr. Young has "mistakingly vitiated phonetic analysis," by giving a syllabic power, instead of initial, to the phonetic characters constituting the name. If the result of Dr. Young's process produced the true interpretation, it will be obvious that the objection does not invalidate Dr. Young's claim, and that fhe title of first interpreter of the name in question belongs to him. All that M. Champollion has done is improving on his suggestion, and following his clue.

    Dr. Young, in his "Account of Some Recent Discoveries," has decyphered thé names of most of the deities, and many of the Greek and Roman rulers of Egypt, by the phonetic alphabet, and a great number of Egyptian proper names, written in the epistolograpbic character. To these, Champollion has added a considerable number of the Ptolomies and Caesars; and no less than thirty of the Pharaohs, which names, as he asserts, accord with the traditions of Manetho. But to Dr. Young belongs a merit which neither M. Champollion nor any other person can dispute with him; it consists in the substantial achievement of affixing a precise meaning to no le»s than 200 hieroglyphics. These interpretations we believe to be generally accurate, not less on account of the careful and experimental process employed in obtaining them (viz. that of comparing their local relations on the Rosetta stone with the enchorial and Greek characters), than from the internal evidence which their imitative form, as well as their combinations, supply. Thus we have a hatchet for God as a Creator; a hatchet, with the feminine symbol of an egg and a semi-circle, for goddess; two hatchets, with two nails signifying security, for Soteres or saviour gods. Here the plural number is expressed in the same manner as by the Chinese; repetition signifying plurality, and three characters an indefinite plurality: sometimes the latter qualifications are signified by two or three bars attached to the original characters. Again, day is composed of two characters; one representing the sun, the other splendour: illustrious, of two characters, one implying splendour, as before; and two legs signifying bearing: good is a guitar; whence the Platonic idea of music being the good: beneficent, or doing good, consists of a guitar and a patera, the latter implying bestowing, &c. &c. &c. Two other characters, proved by their locality on the Rosetta stone, are worth naming, because they show that the contempt generally thrown (and among others by Dr. Young himself) on ancient expounders of hieroglyphics, as Horus Apollo and Hermapion, is ill-deserved; one is the character of a goose for son, as Horus Apollo asserts; the other, that of a bull with an arm, and a hawk, for mighty Apollo -- as Hermapion signified when interpreting the first part of the Heliopolitan obelisk, according to the testimony of Ammianus Marcellinus.

    The preceding detail brings down the history of Egyptian discovery to
    the status, in which Mr. Salt, in the work before us, takes it up. It is preceded by a dedication to the Right Hon. C. Yorke, and accompanied by some notes from the pen of Mr. Bankes, jun., who has also increased the value of the work by a lithographical engraving of that valuable document, the Genealogical Table of Abydos. In this publication, Mr. Salt declares himself to be a convert to the phonetic system, of which he first entertained doubts; since it "appeared to him a very vague and conjectural hypothesis." The proof which he now adduces of the "solidity of the basis on which it is founded," is indeed highly satisfactory, since it exhibits two persons, in two distant parts of the globe, without the slightest communication, coming by different modes of deduction to the same conclusion. Mr. Salt has added two new phonetic characters to Dr. Young's alphabet, viz. a pair of tongs and a beetle for D, T, or Th. To the previous collections of Roman emperors, he has added the names of Nero, Commodus, Adrian, Antoninus, and Domitian; he has, likewise, discovered a considerable number of names of the Pharoahs and their queens, some known to chronology, and some not: the most remarkable of the former are Thotkmosis, who, according to the conjoint testimony of Josephus, Manetho, and Charœmon, was the Pharoah who expelled the Jews from Egypt; and Misarte, who erected the obelisk now standing at Matarea. Among the Ethiopian kings appears the name of Tirhakah, who is mentioned in the Book of Kings; Sabaco, supposed to be the So of scripture; and Zerah. The name of Athurte, the princess who, according to Josephus, was daughter to Amenophis, and preserved Moses, is also among Mr. Salt's discoveries. The phonetic names of Rameses me Amun, and of his son Amenoph or Memnon, among the Diospolite kings, are, to our mind, perfectly established; that of Memnou is, in fact, taken from his celebrated vocal statue.

    We are surprised to remark that Mr. Salt draws no inference from the propinquity of the phonetic name of Memnon to the phonetic characters composing the name of the Diospolite king to whom Belzoni's excavation appertained; nor does Mr. Bankes, though his Genealogical Table of Abydos completes the proof necessary to ascertain the personage. The above inference goes to subvert Dr. Young's theory, that it was the tomb of Psaramis, if, indeed, the fact of the whole of the dynasty of Psammis being Saites, and buried at Sais, ought not to have caused its rejection from the first. In two successive articles, published three years ago in the Album, on the subject of the tenant of Belzoni's tomb, the author of this paper maintained that it was Sethos, or Sesostris the Great, the son of Amenoph or Memnon. The opinion is now confirmed; 1st, by Mr. Bankes' Table of Abydos, wherein the name of the individual stands next in succession to that of Memnon; Sid, by the paternal coat of arms of Memnon, as exhibited by Mr. Salt, being coupled on the accompanying shield with the phonetic name of his son and successor throughout the excavation: the latter is the name absurdly assigned to Peammis. There can, therefore, be no doubt that Sesostris, the son of Amenoph, was buried in the magnificent alabaster sarcophagus now in Mr. Soane's possession. It is singular, that the sitting figure of Ptha, being the first phonetic character of the name of Memnon, is erased from the oval shield on the vocal statue ; but it remains in the excavation. Hence the name was originally Phamenoph, as the Egyptians told Pliny: who adds that the month Phamenoph was named after him. The erasure, therefore, which Mr. Salt found, in a great number of other instances, was, probably, made to distinguish the name of the month from the name of the individual. Pliny records
    another, remarkable circumstance ; that the adjacent Memnunium was a serapeum in which Sesostris was deified, as the sun or Serapis, under the name of Ismendes, or the producer of sound. Figures of Serapis appear on all sides of Belzoni's excavation. It was probably the sepulchral portion of the same serapeum; and the whole may have been identical with the palace and tomb of Osyniandes.

    In one thing we cannot concur with Mr. Salt. Having confessed, in the first instance, that he entertained a prejudice against the phonetic system, he is hurried, by the usual zeal of conversion beyond due bounds, in expecting extravagant results from it. He does "noi hesitate to say" (such are his expressions) "that with a complete knowledge of Coptic a person will be able, by the aid of the phonetic system, to decypher whole inscriptions." In this he has abandoned the substantial and cautious ground of illustration taken by Dr. Young, to follow the "will-of-the-wisp" of M. Champollion's vague and migratory logic. Does Mr. Salt, then, think that the Egyptians, after all (instead of merely, expressing the sounds of names phonetically, which they were, compelled to do), expressed ideas also by the same process? What is this but saying that there was, strictly speaking, no hieroglyphical language at all; but that what we have hitherto called so was, in reality, a vague, indefinite and irregular alphabetical system? Clemens Alexandrinus, however, and all contemporary authors who have written on the subject, testify that this was not the case; that ideas, not sounds, were represented by the symbolical part of the language; and this Dr. Young has fully confirmed by those 200 well-established ideographical characters, to some of which we have adverted.

    We believe that much may be done; but are sorry to chill speculation by expressing our decided opinion, that, generally speaking, the language sought to be interpreted is, from the very nature of things, uninterpretable. The Egyptians either had no dictionaries, or have left none: who, then, can possibly hope to interpret the infinite number of abstract signs for ideas, which the priests may have adopted from the influence of caprice, of scientific prejudice, or local customs; and which might have been, for the greatest part, arbitrary and conventional? Whoever pretends to this, may as well pretend to the power of evoking the Egyptian hierarchy from the dead. We are astonished how any man of the least reflection can yield his reason to the delusive charm of so improbable an interpretation. Some shallow and trivial meanderings from the mainstream of the ancient language may be traced -- some drops from the deep springs of the great source of language identified -- and some detached collections of its waters sounded and explored; but the head of the great volume of waters is, and must be, a "fountain sealed."

    The collection of the phonetic names and hieroglyphical signs of the principal divinities, of which the remainder of Mr. Salt's work is made up, is not new; the characteristic crests or heraldic symbols of those divinities have been long familiar to the antiquarian. But the collection is useful, as contributive to a practical adaptation of the phonetic system, since Egyptian proper names are, in most cases, composed of the names of divinities: and nothing is more dearly established than the circumstance that, as in the hieroglyphical writing, it was customary to mingle the image of the deity among the phonetic characters designed to compose a similar, but human cognomen; so, in the epistolographic writing, it was usual to express a name in part phonetically, and in part hieroglyphically -- a circumstance which greatly enhances the difficulty of phonetic interpretation.


    Vol. VI.                               New York City,  September ??, 1826.                             No. ?


    Premiums for Geographical Discoveries. -- There exists in Paris, a Geographical Society, which appears to have large funds, that are devoted to promote the science which gives its name to the Society. By a late arrival from Havre, we have received from M. L. Beront, a member of this Society, the programme of the premiums now offered for discoveries, together with a letter inviting us to aid, if we should see fit, the views of himself and colleagues, by making public in the United States such parts of the programme as relate to investigations on the continent. We cheerfully comply with the invitation, which will, perhaps be best understood by translating an extract from M. Beront's letter, and that portion of the proposals that concerns the Americans. Mr. Beront says, "among the investigations proposed are, two relative to America -- the first having for its object, to describe the interior of Guiana -- the other to give a more exact and detailed account than we yet possess, of the ruins of the ancient city of Palenque, situated in the Province of Guatemala.

    "The inhabitants of the United states, having it more easily in their power than others to visit the countries near them, it would be equally for the interest of our society, and of the science we cultivate, that a translation of such portions of the programme as relates to these two objects, should be published in the journal committed to your charge. In so doing, you may count in advance upon the thanks of the society." &c. &c.

    Translated from the Programme.

    4th prize -- a gold medal of the value of 5000 ($1000) for a voyage of discovery to the interior of Guiana.

    It is required that the unknown parts of French Guiana be reconnoitered, the position of the sources of the River Maroni be determined, and investigation extended as far as possible to the west, in the direction of the second parallel of north latitude, and in following the lone of separation between the waters of the Guianas and the Brazil.

    The traveller must establish upon scientific principles the geographical positions, and the levels of the principal points, and bring back the materials for a new and exact map.

    The Society desires that he should also collect vocabularies of the different tribes.

    The premium is to be awarded in the first general meeting in 1829.

    5th prize -- American Antiquities -- a gold medal of the value of 2400 ($480)

    The following are the conditions of obtaining this premium:

    A more exact and detailed description than we yet possess, of the ruins of the ancient city of Palenque, situated north-west of the village of St. Domingo Palenque, near the River Micol, in the state of Chiapa, if the former kingdom of Guatemala, and designated under the name of the Casas de Piedras, in the report addressed in 1787, to the King of Spain, by Antonio del Rio.

    The author must give picturesque views of the monuments, with plans and sections of the principal details of their sculpture. The apparent connexion of these monuments, with others in Guatemala and Yucatan, make it desirable that the traveller should examine, if possible, the ancient Utalban, near Santa Cruz del Quiche, in the province of Solola, the ancient fortress of Mexico, and several similar ones; the ruins of Copan, in the State of Honduras; those of the Isle of Peten in the lagoon of Itza; upon the limits of Chiapa, Yucatan, and Verapaz, the ancient buildings situated in Yucatan, and 20 leagues south of Merida, between Mora-y-Ticul and the city of Noiacab, and finally the edifices in the neighborhood of the city of Mani, near the River Largartos.

    The Bas reliefs, representing the adoration of a Cross such as that engraved in the work of Del Rio, will be sought after. It is important to ascertain the analogy between these different edifaces, regarded as the works of the same people and the same state of the arts. In relation to geographical matters, the society requires, 1st. particular maps of the cantons where these ruins are situated, together with topographical plans -- these maps must be made in the most exact manner. 2d. The absolute height above the sea, of the principal points. 3d. Remarks upon the physical condition and productions of the country.

    The Society also requires some notice of the traditions relative to the people to whom the construction of these monuments is ascribed; with observations as to the manners and customs of the aborigines, and the Vocabularies of ancient idioms. Special enquiry will be made as to the tradition of the country respecting the age of these edifices, and particularly as to any proof, that figures drawn with a certain degree of correctness, were anterior to the conquest.

    Finally the authors will collect all that is known respecting Votaw [sic - Votan?] or Wodaw of the inhabitants of Chiapa, a personage compared with Odin and Budda.

    The memorial, maps and drawings, must be deposited at the bureau of the central commission before the 1st January, 1830.

    Note 1: The exact date of this article remains undetermined: the text was transcribed from a reprint that appeared in the Sept. 28th issue of a Washington, D.C. newspaper, the Daily National Journal. A similar article also ran in the Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post of Sept. 23rd. Additional information included in other, contemporary news reports was that the "Memoirs must be written in French, and sent (with the name of the authors, under a seal) to the President of the Society, Taranne Street, No. 12, Paris, in France," etc.

    Note 2: Announcements, translated into in English, of an offering of this sort of prize, by the Geographical Society of Paris, appeared in the American popular press as early as 1825 -- see the Cincinnati Literary Gazette of Jun. 4, 1825 for one such report from the Geographical Society of Paris, offering prizes of four thousand francs each, for the best accounts on various subjects pertaining to American antiquities. A gold medal was offered at that time for the "best description of ancient American ruins," received in Paris, before the beginning of 1836. Evidently no specific mention was made of "Palenque" in the 1825 prize offering. For similar news of French prize offerings for new discoveries in American antiquities, see the New York Palmyra Reflector of Oct. 28, 1829.

    Note 3: Although he was unable to journey to Guatamala to inspect "the Ruins of the Ancient city of Palenque," this notice of the French offer, published in the Saturday Evening Post, appears to have caught the eye of Prof. Constantine S. Rafinesque, lately arrived in Philadelphia from Lexington, Kentucky. See Rafinesque's letter, published in the Jan 13, 1827 issue of the Post..


    John Ranking
    Historical Researches...
    London: Longman, &c., 1827

  • p. 267  (ruins from 13th century?)

  • p. 275  (ruins of a great city)

  • [ 267 ]

    [Tlascala] the capital, was an independent and hostile republic. Cholula, still nearer, was a recent acquisition. Tepeiacac, thirty leagues from Mexico, was a separate state. Mechuacan, whose frontier was within forty leagues, was implacable to the Mexican name. Thus circumscribed, we must moderate the high ideas formed from Spanish historians." *

    We will now endeavour to give the reader a sketch of Anahuac, the old name of New Spain, before the arrival of the Mexicans.

    "The Toltecas," says Clavigero, vol. i. p. 84, are the oldest nation of which we have any knowledge, and that is very imperfect."

    * Robertson, ii. 293. "When the Mexicans arrived in Anahuac, says Clavigero, they found it full of large and beautiful cities." Vol. i. 416. No proofs of this assertion appear in any ruins of dwellings built of solid materials. The ruins of Mitla, and those near Guatimala, are probably not older than the thirteenth or fourteenth century, according to Humboldt, (Vol. ii. 158). The ruins of Mitla are ornamented with Greek and Arabesque borders, very similar to such as are seen on Chinese and Japanese card boxes aud counters, and also on the dresses of the Incas.

    [ 275 ]

    and with him the Toltecan monarchy terminated.

    Some of the wretched remains of the nation removed to Yucatan, some to Guatimala, * and some continued in the kingdom of Tula, and dispersed themselves in the vale where Mexico was afterwards founded. There cannot be a doubt, that the Toltecs had a clear notion of the deluge. † -- Clav. Vol. ii. p. 87.

    For about a century, Anahuac remained almost depopulated and desolate, until the arrival of a great number of the Chechemecas, A.D. 1170, (Humboldt, Vol.ii p, 251), who came originally from the northern countries. Their native land they called Amaquemecan, where, they say, different monarchs ruled their country many years. They were eighteen months on their journey, on which they passed

    * The ancient inhabitants of Guatimala were a highly cultivated people, as is proved by the ruins of a great city, situate in a place, which the Spaniards call el Palenque. -- Humboldt, Vol. ii. p. 254.

    † The Mongols and Tartars consider themselves as descendants of Japhet. -- Abul Ghazi, P. i. Ch. ii.


    John Ranking
    "Remarks on the Ruins
      at Palenque"

    Quarterly Journal of Lit.
    London, Jan. & Apr. 1828

  • pp. 135-154  (Jan: Part One)

  • p. 323-371  (Apr: Part Two)

  • [ 135 ]

    Remarks on the Ruins at Palenque, in Guatemala, and on the
    Origin of the American Indians, By John Ranking, Esq.

    These ruins are situated on a plain, named Palenque, in the province of Ciudad Real de Chiapa, near the borders of Guatemala and Yucatan, in north latitude, by Robertson's map, 17 degrees 30 minutes.

    A description of this ancient city has been published in English, * translated from the manuscript of Captain Don Antonio del Rio, dated Palenque, 1787, accompanied with a critical investigation into the history of the ancient Americans, by Doctor Paul Felix Cabrera, of the city of New Guatemala, dated 1794. The following is a summary:

    The king of Spain having ordered another examination of these ruins, Captain Del Rio proceeded to the site of the ancient city, which is called Casas de Piedras (stone houses) for the purpose of effectually clearing away the trees and copsewood which hid the principal building. With seventy-nine Indians and forty axes the wood was cut down in fifteen days, and was consumed in a general conflagration, which enabled the party to continue their operations with more facility. The pick-axes were reduced to three, and the iron crow-bars to seven; but, by dint of perseverance, all that was necessary to be done was effected, and, ultimately, there remained neither a window nor a doorway blocked up, nor a room, corridor, court, tower,

    * By H. Berthoud, Regents-Quadrant, and Suttaby & Co., Stationers-court, 4to, 1822, with seventeen plates. "The original manuscript of Captain del Rio, with the criticism of Dr. Cabrera, was found in the archives of New Guatemala, and is open for inspection at Mr. Berthoud' s." -- Prefatory Address.

    136                       Mr. Ranking on the Ruins of Palenque.                      

    nor subterranean passage, in which excavations were not effected two or three yards in depth.

    There are fourteen stone houses situated upon a height, some more dilapidated than others, but many of their apartments being perfectly discernible. At the base of the highest mountain forming the ridge, there is a plain four hundred and fifty yards long and three hundred wide. In the centre, upon a mound twenty yards high, stands the largest structure that has yet been discovered, under which is a stone aqueduct of great solidity. It is surrounded by five other edifices on the north, four on the south, three on the east, and one on the south-west. In all directions fragments of other fallen buildings of the town are to be seen, extending along the mountain, that stretches east and west about three or four leagues either way.

    Its breadth is little more than half a league at the point where the ruins terminate. The interior of the large building is in a rude and massive style of architecture, resembling the Gothic; the entrance, on the east, is by a portico, or corridor, three yards in width and thirty-six in length, supported by plain rectangular pillars, without bases or pedestals, upon which are square smooth stones, more than a foot thick, forming an architrave; while on the exterior superficies are stucco shields, the designs of three of which accompany this report, numbered 1, 2, 3. * Over these stones there is a plain rectangular block, five feet long and six broad, extending over two of the pillars. Medallions, or compartments in stucco, containing different devices of the same material, appear as decorations to the chambers; and from the vestiges of the heads which can still be traced, it is presumable that they were the busts of the kings or lords to whom the natives were subject. Between the medallions there is a range of windows the whole length of the wall, like niches; some are square, some in form of a Greek cross, and others, which complete the cross, are square, being about two feet high, and eight inches deep.

    Beyond this corridor there is a square court, entered by a flight of seven steps. The north side is in ruins, but we may

    * These, and many other things described, are not represented upon the seventeen plates published, no more having been found with the manuscript; and those seventeen which accompany the quarto, have no numbers, or marks, whatever for reference, but are given just as they were received by the publisher.

                          Mr. Ranking on the Ruins of Palenque.                       137

    see that it had a similar chamber and corridor with those on the east. The south side has only four small chambers, with nothing but two little windows, like those described above.

    The western side corresponds to its opposite in all respects, except the variety of expression of the figures in stucco; these are much more rude and ridiculous than the others, and can only be attributed to the most uncultivated Indian capacity. The device is a mask with a crown and long beard, like that of a goat; under this are two Greek crosses, the one delineated in the other, as appears in Fig. 7. * Proceeding in the same direction, there is another court, somewhat similar to the last. Some pillars yet remain, on which are relievos, alluding to the sacrifice of some wretched Indian. I have transported from this chamber the stucco head of the sufferer, (Fig. 8.) and the foot and leg of the sacrificer, (Fig. 11.) There is a tower on the south side, (Fig. 12.); its height is sixteen yards, and to the four existing stories there has, perhaps, been a fifth with a cupola. These piles diminish in size, and are without ornament, yet the design is singular and ingenious. There is an interior tower, quite plain, with windows to give light to the steps by which you ascend to the summit. A solid body passes through the centre of the tower, from which the earth and stones slipped down, and prevented us from excavating more than three yards.

    Behind the above four chambers, there are two others, larger, and well ornamented in the rude Indian style, and appear to have been oratories. Among the embellishments are some enamelled stuccos, (Figs. 13 and 14 ;) the Grecian heads represent sacred objects, to which they made their offerings, probably consisting of strings of jewels, as the attitudes denote. †

    Beyond these oratories there are two apartments, each 27 yards long and three broad, containing nothing but an elliptical stone embedded in the wall, about a yard above the pavement, the height of it is one yard and a quarter, the breadth a yard. At the extremity of an apartment, on a level with the pavement, there is an aperture like a hatchway, two yards long, and more than one broad, leading to a subterranean passage, by a flight of steps,

    * Figure is used throughout the Spanish account for Plate.

    † Montezuma and Cortez put necklaces on each other; it is a Mongul, or Mogul custom, for these two spellings are used by all writers indifferently.

    138                       Mr. Ranking on the Ruins of Palenque.                      

    which has, at a regular distance, flats or landings, each having its respective doorway, ornamented in front like Fig. 18. Fig. 19 represents another entrance, and there is a third buried beneath heaps of rubbish. In another of the many entrances, there was a stone, (No. 7,) which I broke off from the left hand side of the first step, with various devices in bas-relief, as in Fig. 20 . On reaching the second door, we continued the descent, with artificial light, by a very gentle declivity. Turning at right angles, we entered through a door into a chamber sixty-four yards long, and nearly as large as those before described; beyond this there is another, exactly similar, having light from windows commanding a corridor fronting the south. Nothing was found in these places, except some plain stones, two yards and a half long by one yard and a quarter broad, supported by four square stands of masonry, rising about half a yard above the ground, partitioned off in the forms of alcoves, and were obviously receptacles for sleeping.

    On an eminence to the south, there is a building about forty yards in height, forming a parallelogram, resembling the former in architecture; it has square pillars, an exterior gallery, and a saloon, twenty yards by three and a half, embellished with a frontispiece, on which are described female figures, with children in their arms, all of the natural size, in stucco medio-relief; they are without heads, as in Figs. 21 and 22. Some whimsical designs, as ornaments to the corners of the house, were brought away; they are numbered 8, 9, and 10. The inhabitants used such devices for the conveyance of their thoughts, but we cannot know their real meaning. In the gallery there are three stones, each three yards high and one broad, covered with the hieroglyphics in bas-relief recently mentioned. The whole of the gallery and saloon are paved. Passing by some ruins, in a little valley there is a similar structure. (Fig. 23.) Eastward there are three small eminences, forming a triangle, upon each of which is a square building, eighteen yards long, and eleven broad, having, along the thin roofings, superstructures about three yards high, resembling turrets, covered with ornaments and devices in stucco. In the interior of the first mansion, at the end of a dilapidated gallery, is a saloon, with a small chamber

                          Mr. Ranking on the Ruins of Palenque.                       139

    at each end, and in the centre an oratory, three yards square, presenting, on each side of the entrance, a perpendicular stone, whereon there is the image of a man in bas-relief, as in Figs. 24, 25. On entering, the entire front is occupied by three stones, joined together, upon which there are the allegorical objects represented by Fig. 26. The outward decoration is a moulding, finished with small stucco bricks, and the bas-reliefs, Nos. 11 and 12. The pavement is smooth, and eight inches thick. In the centre, at the depth of about half a yard, was found a round earthen vessel, about a foot in diameter, fitted, horizontally, with lime to another of the same size. A quarter of a yard deeper, a circular stone was found, about a foot in diameter, and, on removing it, there was a cylindrical cavity, a foot wide, and a third of a foot deep, containing a flint lance, two small conical pyramids, with the figure of a heart in dark crystallized stone, named challa; and common in these parts. *

    There were also two small earthen jars, or ewers, with covers, containing small stones, and a ball of vermilion. There was another similar cavity in each of the corners at the entrance of the oratory, containing the little jars Nos. 17 and 18. These things convey to the mind, that this was the spot where they venerated the memory of their greatest heroes, for the characters and bas-reliefs surrounding them evidently prove it.

    The other two edifices vary only in the allegorical subjects of the bas-reliefs on the stones. In the second were found the delineations of men, as in Figs. 27, 28, and the front exhibited the three stones displayed in Fig. 29. On excavating, there were discovered a flint lance, two conical pyramids, the representation of a heart, and two earthen jars, numbered 19, 20, 21, 22,

    Figure 30, the last of this collection, shows the interior front of the third oratory; it is like the others. If due attention be given to the bas-reliefs thereon, the conclusion is, that the ancient inhabitants lived in extreme darkness. † In other similar edifices, completely in ruins; on digging there were found an earthen vase, broken to pieces, which contained some small pieces of challa, in the shape of lancets, or thin

    * The Inca Huayna Capac, who died in 1527, desired that his body should be sent to Cuzco, and his heart to his beloved city of Quito. -- Vega, ii, 414.

    † See remark on Plate xii.

    140                       Mr. Ranking on the Ruins of Palenque.                      

    blades of razors, probably used as such by these uncivilized people. * They are numbered 23j 24. No. 25 is an earthen pot, containing a number of small bones, grinders, and teeth, found in the same excavation.

    No. 26, and those that follow, denote the quality of the lime, mortar, and burnt bricks, used by the inhabitants. It may be inferred that the latter were used very sparingly, as all that could be found were brought away. On this second examination of this ruined city, no exertions have been spared to illustrate the points contained in the last royal mandate.

    "Father de Soza describes other ruins between the curacy of Mona y Ticul and the town of Nocacab, twenty leagues from the city of Merida, (in Yucatan). One is a large building in good preservation, upon an eminence twenty yards high, and 200 yards on each fa9ade. The natives name it Oxmutal.

    "The apartments, the exterior corridor, the pillars with figures in medio relievo, of serpents, lizards, &c., formed in stucco; beside which are statues of men with palms in their hands, in the act of beating drums and dancing; -- all resemble, in every respect, those in the buildings at Palenque.

    "At a town called Mani, there is a conical stone pillory, (pillar ?) and on the south a very ancient palace resembling that at Palenque. These and other buildings on the road from Merida to Bacalar, evidently prove the identity of the ancient inhabitants of Yucatan and Palenque." -- Page 6.

    Regarding the origin of the inhabitants of Palenque, Captain Don Antonio del Rio says -- "The conclusion must be, that the ancient inhabitants of these structures lived in extreme darkness; for in their fabulous superstitions we seem to view the idolatry of the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Romans, and other primitive nations most strongly portrayed. On this account it may reasonably be conjectured, that some one of these nations pursued their conquests even to this country, where it is probable they only remained long enough to enable the Indian tribes to imitate their ideas, and adopt, in a rude and awkward manner, such arts as their invaders thought fit to inculcate." -- Page 19.

    * These are such as the Mexicans made their swords with. -- See Clavigero, Plate xii.

                          Mr. Ranking on the Ruins of Palenque.                       141

    "Father Jacito Garrido, a Dominican friar, who was in these parts in 1638, where he taught theology, and was well versed in the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin languages; cosmography, arithmetic, and music; has left a Latin manuscript, in which he states his opinion, that the northern parts of America had been discovered by the Greeks, English, and other nations, a supposition he deduces from the variety of languages, and some monuments in the village of Ocojingo, twenty-four leagues from Palenque; but these are the mere conjectures of the reverend writer, nor does he define the period when these alleged strangers arrived." -- Page 12.

    The result of Dr. Cabrera's disquisition regarding the peopling of America, which he says is an "historical obscurity that has hitherto fatigued the greatest talents in the world" (page 35) is this -- "That Atlas made the first voyage to America; that Votan, a Hivite, third in descent from Hercules Tyrius, led a colony from Syria to Hispaniola, which is the island Atlantis; and from the capital of that island he embarked his first colony for the continent of America, and founded Palenque, from which city he visited the old world four times; that his port of arrival was Tripoli, in Syria; that he was in Spain, and that he visited Rome, and witnessed the building of the 'House of God,' by which is meant the temple that, during the consulate of Publius Cornelius Rufinus, was erected in honour of Romulus and Remus, B.C. 291; that it was from Votan that the Romans and Carthaginians obtained their first knowledge of America; and that Carthaginians emigrated, and founded the kingdom of Amaquemacan, (the original region from whence the Toltecs, Mexicans, and other tribes, arrived in Anahuac, and which Clavigero places in the north of America;) but that so many inhabitants emigrated, that the Carthaginian Senate passed a decree, commanding their return, as mentioned by Diodorus, and confirmed by Montezuma, in his discourses with Cortez ; that the Carthaginians, fearing some disaster from the Roman arms, kept from those conquerors the secret of their having this secure refuge; that, according to Indian tradition, Votan wrote his own history, which was taken from a cave by an Indian lady, who gave up the historical tract, and that it was publicly burnt in the square at

    142                       Mr. Ranking on the Ruins of Palenque.                      

    Huguetan, in the year 1691; that it is, however, possible, that Votan's tract, or another similar to it, may be that which is in the possession of Don Ramon de Ordonez y Aguiar, of Ciudad Real, a man of extraordinary genius, and at this time occupied in composing a work, the title of which is, Historia del Cielo y de la Terra, which traces the original population of America from Chaldea, immediately after the confusion of tongues. His study of the subject for more than thirty years, and his skill in the Tzendal language, in which the tract is written, lead us to anticipate a work so perfect in its kind as will completely astonish the world."

    The erudite Doctor concludes his critical inquiry, of 103 pages, "about it, Goddess, and about it," in these words -- "It was my intention to call this a new Attempt to solve the grand problem; but in consequence of the valuable information which I have acquired from the learned work of the Bishop of Sonoro, I denominate it a Solution, and in so doing I sincerely trust the reader will not ascribe such alteration to an overstrained confidence in my own abilities."

    On the above opinions of the three Spanish authors, no other remark is required, than that they have entirely neglected to examine that part of Asiatic history, which is the true source from which the solution can be drawn, and which is offered as follows: --

    Neither history nor tradition, worthy of regard, existed in any part of America, when discovered by Columbus, earlier than the sixth century of the Christian era; from which period the nations in Anahuac, beginning with the Toltecs, date their arrival. South of the fine no annals whatever exist previous to the mysterious appearance of Mango Capac. -- (A.D. 1283.)

    The Toltecs are the first people known to have arrived in America. They left their own country, A.D. 544, supposed to be the eastern part of Asia, and tarried at Casa Grande, which they built, (N. lat. 34 degrees, near California, by Robertson, 29 degrees by Clavigero,) and other places, 104 years; * they then arrived in Anahuac; and in the year 670 they founded Tula, after

    * Dr. Cabrera, p. 65, says the 104 years were passed in Africa.

                          Mr. Ranking on the Ruins of Palenque.                       143

    the name of their native residence. They were acquainted with the art of casting gold and silver, and of cutting all kinds of gems. They brought with them from their own country an exact knowledge of the length of the solar year, where it had been known about a century before the Christian era. *

    The Toltecs multiplied exceedingly, and extended their population in numerous and large cities; till, in the year 1052, they were dreadfully afflicted with drought, famine, and mortality, and their monarchy terminated. Some of the wretched remains removed to Yucatan, some to Guatemala, † and some dispersed themselves in Anahuac. There cannot be a doubt but that they had a clear notion of the Deluge. (Clavigero, i. 87.)

    For about a century Anahuac remained nearly depopulated; when in the year 1170, a numerous party of Chechemecas arrived. They came from the north, and their native land they called Amaquemacan, where different monarchs had ruled their country many years. They were eighteen months upon the journey, and passed the ruins of the buildings of the Toltecs, (Casa Grande.) They had distinctions between the nobility and commonalty. They lived on game, fruits, and roots of spontaneous growth; were clothed in the skins of beasts, armed with bows and arrows, and worshipped the sun. They established themselves six miles north of the future Mexico. In process of time they formed alliances with the few Toltecs who had remained. Eight years afterwards, (in 1178,) six respectable persons, with a considerable retinue, arrived from a kingdom near Amaquemacan; these were the Nahuatlacs, and consisted of seven tribes, Sochimilcs, Chaleks, Tapanecs, Acolhauns, Tlahuics, Tlascaltecs, and Aztecs, who all spoke the Toltec language. -- (See Clavigero, B. ii., Humboldt, Res. ii. 251.)

    After the beginning of the thirteenth century, Acolhuatzin, and two other princes, arrived with a great army of Acolhuans:

    * See Clavigero, ii. 226. Humboldt, Researches, ii. 249. Conquest of Peru and Mexico by the Moguls, A.D. 1283, p. 268. The knowledge of the Toltecs, regarding the year of 365 days and near six hours, agrees precisely with the Chinese history. See Du Halde, folio ii. 230, and Conquest by Mongols, p. 274.

    † There is not any thing in the history, as far as is known, to warrant the idea of greater antiquity of the ruins in question, at these two places.

    144                       Mr. Ranking on the Ruins of Palenque.                      

    they were of the noble house of Citin. They represented themselves as sons of a great lord, and that they had been attracted by the reports they had heard of the hospitality of the Chechemecan monarch. The king was pleased with their manners, and gave his two daughters in marriage to the two eldest princes.

    The last thiat arrived were the Aztecs. The whole of the above spoke the Toltec language. The Aztecs resided many years at Culiacan and other places, but settled themselves, and called their city Tenochtitlan, in 1324: it was afterwards named Mexico, and became an elective monarchy in 1377, Montezuma died in 1520; he was the ninth king, and was descended from the first monarch. Montezuma's ancestors had arrived in ships under the command of a mighty lord, but whether by design or accident was not manifest. *

    Guatemala had been conquered by Ahuitzotl, the eighth king of Mexico, who died in 1502.

    Regarding the ruins at Palenque, says Baron Humboldt, "they are evidences of the taste of the Toltec and Aztec race for the ornaments of architecture. We are absolutely ignorant of their antiquity, but it is scarcely probable that it goes back farther than the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries of our era." -- Researches, ii. 158.

    * Speech of Montezuma to Cortez. See Peter Martyr in Hakluyt, vol. iv. 558; Quarterly Journal of Science, January 1828, p. 359. Montezuma is an Asiatic name. The earliest writers, Peter Martyr, Purchas, Herera, Clavigero, (see Portrait, vol. i.), and others, spell the name Motezuma, and zin was added. Moti is a Chinese name, (Du Halde, Vol. i. p. 197, 203), and is also the name of the Emperor of the Kin, or Nioutches, (D'Herbelot, Canon Chronologique, iv. 276), who are Mongols, (Abul Ghazi, ii. 383.) Tscoum means venerable, (D'Herbelot, iv. p. 349, lines 8 and 23;) zin means great in the Mogul language, (Abul Ghazi Bahader, part iii. ch. iv.) Thus the name is consistent with the dignity of this famous monarch, who told Cortez that his armour, jewels, &c., were those which he had preserved from his forefathers, as the usage of kings is. -- (Conquest by the Mongols, p. 325.)

    Regarding the Emperor telling Cortez, that the Children of the Sun expected bearded men from the Rising Sun, (a) or east; it could not mean Europe, as the Americans did not suspect the earth being spherical; and Japan is named Nipon, and in Chinese Sipon, both of which mean basis or foundation of the sun.

    (a) Cabrera, page 60, This is the most important and principal mistake which has led this author, and many others, into their Carthaginian hypothesis. But Cortez, in his letter to the King of Spain, says; -- " I replied to all he had said in the way most suitable to myself, by making him believe your majesty to be the chief whom they have so long expected.-- p. 62.

                          Mr. Ranking on the Ruins of Palenque.                       145

    146                       Mr. Ranking on the Ruins of Palenque.                      

    Description of the Seventeen Plates which are published; but not bound in the same order in Two Volumes which the Writer has seen; they are, therefore, now numbered and described so as to be easily referred to.

    I. -- Is the largest plate, (fifteen inches by ten,) representing a Greek Cross, much decorated, with a bird perched upon it, with something like a branch in his beak. A man stands on each side of the Cross, one of whom is holding a figure of an imperfect or fabulous infant.

    The borders appear to be registers of their victories, by the representation of heads, hands, and ears; accompanied with ciphers, to denote the numbers slain.

    Remark. -- The Toltecs left their native land, A.D. 544, and the leader of the Guatemalans was Votan. It has been shown what tremendous convulsions existed among the Turks, whose head-quarters were in the Calmuc country at that period, * (Turquestan.) The eastern nation, called the Eastern Ouie, had a sovereign whose name was Voutim, and he was poisoned in the year 543. † Now it is quite probable that this is the same name as Votan, for D'Herbelot, from whom this is extracted, (vol. iv. p. 71,) uses m for n. Mongols he spells Moumgols, (see his Index.) The American tradition brings Votan from the north, (Humboldt, Res. i. 173. See also vol. i. p. 319, for the remarks of Baron H. regarding Votan: and also for the similitude of the border-registers of the Indians of Chiapa (Palenque) to those of the Mexicans.) The writer is averse to etymological proofs, but he does not deem this an overstrained one. With respect to the Cross, it was well known at this period in Tartary; the Turks and Huns warred with the Christians at Constantinople; and the Tartars of all descriptions ever called themselves descendants of Noah. At this epoch the Alcoran had not appeared. (Mahomet was born in 569.) These circumstances may very satisfactorily account for their knowledge of the Cross and the bird. The border-registers are in the style of those of the Mexicans, but not the same characters, nor so methodical. ‡

    * Conquest of Peru and Mexico, p. 269.

    † "From 439 to 589, the north of China was governed by Tartars, the south by Chinese. Never was history more fertile in great events than during that period of brigandages." -- D'Herbelot, iv. 57.

    ‡ See Clavigero, Vol. i. p. 107,

                          Mr. Ranking on the Ruins of Palenque.                       147

    The heads and ears are common with Mongols and Turks. The early Parthians cut off also the hand. The head and right hand of Crassus were presented to Arsaces Orodes. -- (Hist. Parthian Emp. by Lewis, p. 111.) Thus all these customs and allusions may be referred to Tartary in the year 544.

    II. -- An ornament, probably in bas-relief -- two human figures, one with an animal's head, rather like a wolf, two human arms and two eyes, as if plucked from a criminal. Another ornament of a female half-figure, with a helmet and necklace. This head has a high skull.

    Remark. -- The eyes prove this plate to allude to a custom common in Upper Asia. The Emperor of Bochara's eyes were put out, A.D. 998. Daw's Hindostan, i. 39.

    III. -- A man in a decorated kind of helmet-head-dress, with a weapon in each hand, upon one of which is a small bird: a human head is upon his girdle; another man is upon his knees, with his hands joined, imploring for mercy: they have both long or high skulls. The neat border to this plate is merely ornamental, by its uniform design.

    IV. -- A man in a helmet with a long necklace; a weapon in his right hand, and with the left holding another man by the hair, perhaps to behead him: the latter is seated. Under him is a skull, and a head which has been cut off. There is a register-border three inches long. Both of the men have long heads.

    V. -- Several large designs like border-writing; with one of them there is a human profile, with a ram's head upon the forehead.

    Remark, -- There were no sheep in America. Usbecs (i. e. Mongols) are distinguished by ensigns with black and white sheep. (Sir R. K. Porter's Travels in Persia, vol. i. p. xix.) The Peruvians and Siberians had figures of sheep in gold and in stone. The sheep was sacred with the Mongols in their sacrifices. -- (Marco Polo, p. 253, Conquest of Mexico and Peru, p. 221.)

    VI. -- A warrior in a large fanciful helmet, upon which is a human head, and two others upon his girdle; a decorated staff in his left hand, with a bird at the top of it: a net-work shoulder-covering, and a kind of buskins on his feet. Two slaves are seated at the feet of the warrior, with their legs crossed under them, and one of them with terror expressed in his features,

    148                       Mr. Ranking on the Ruins of Palenque.                      

    Remark. -- These three persons, and nearly all the others represented in the seventeen plates, have remarkably high skulls and large aquiline prominent noses; * and some of them have projecting under lips. In a dissertation on this subject, (Humboldt's Researches, vol. i. 130,) it is said, that "this is also the essential character of the hieroglyphical pictures preserved at Vienna, Rome, and the palace of the Viceroy at Mexico." The greatest resemblance to any known people is to the Turks. Among these plates the features of the man upon the medal in No. ix., † may be those of a Calmuc; and many of the heads upon the border-writing of these pictures are rather flat than long. According to American history, the Toltecs left their native Tula, in Asia, A.D. 544, and being driven by famine from Anahuac, A.D. 1052, they settled in Guatemala and Yucatan. -- (Conquest by the Mongols, p. 269.)

    From 506 to 545 Tartary was in the most convulsed state possible, and the Turks, whose head-quarters were near the sources of the Irtish, first rose to fame. This is now the head-quarters of the Calmucs. The Geougen Tartars resided at Tula, (near Lake Baikal,) in the year 520. In 555 the Turks had conquered all the north of Asia. Yakutz was named Northern Turquestan. Leao-tong was conquered, and they describe sledges drawn with dogs, as in Kamtschatka. -- (Gibbon, ch. xlii. D'Herbelot, iv. 89, et seq. De Guines, vol. i. part ii. p. Iviii. 352, iii. 7.) The Turks had been the most despised portion of the slaves of the Great Khan of the Geougen; but in a decisive battle the nation of the Geougen were nearly exterminated by the Turks about A.D. 545. The throne of Bertezena, the first leader of the Turks, the founder of which nation, like Romulus, having been suckled by a wolf, was turned towards the east, and a golden wolf upon the top of a spear seemed to guard the entrance of his tent. (A skeleton of a coyote, or American wolf, was found in a tomb in Mexico, in 1791, and there were in that city a chapel and a congregation of priests of the sacred wolf. Humboldt, Res, ii. 48, 319.) If we are strong, say the Turks, we advance and conquer; if feeble, we retire and are concealed.

    * See two of these heads in the: preceding plate, letter C,

    † See the plate, D.

                          Mr. Ranking on the Ruins of Palenque.                       149

    China was invaded by these conquerors. They besieged the city of Bosphorus, at Lake Maeotis, subject to the Romans. (Gibbon, ch. xlii.) About this period the northern parts of China were entirely ruined, the Emperor turned bonza, and by his weakness threw the country into the most terrible anarchy. (See Du Halde, cycle, A.D. 484 to 544.) Tou-men, chief of the Tou-kiue nation, entirely defeated the Kao-tche Tartars, and carried off half a million of families. Emboldened by this success, he sent an embassy to China in the year 532. It is quite impossible to trace the persons or the geography of these warriors, but it is evident that there are abundant causes for flight and emigration. (See D'Herbelot, iv. 92.)

    With respect to the shape of the skulls, it has long been the custom, in Asia, to shape the heads of infants according to fancy or fashion. The midwives at Constantinople inquire of the mother, after parturition, what form she wishes to be given to the head of the child? The Macrocephali, (a people of Asia Minor,) or Long Heads, moulded the skull to as great a length as possible. (Rees's Cyc. Cranium. Macrocephali.) The Omaquas, in South America, press the head between boards till it is nearly sharp at top, and flat before and behind. Some of the Americans have flat heads, some protuberances behind, a strange custom, at length become hereditary. The Council of Lima, in 1585, expressly prohibited these customs. But the free negroes and Maroons, although Africans, have adopted it since they have lived among the Caribs, in order to distinguish the children which are born free. (Enc, Brit, Macrophalus.)

    There appears to be some mistakes and erroneous notions regarding the persons of the Calmucs. * "The nose of the Calmuc is ordinarily camus et ecrase vers le front, † the head and visage very round. We are led to believe, from some travellers, that the Calmucs are ugly, and even hideous, but they

    * See Rees's "Cyclopedia," Cranium, Mongolian variety.

    This line of beauty is accidental and does not generally apply. The writer of these notes passed a night in the house of a family in Finland, whose noses were thus deformed. The mother had a very young child lying upon her lap, and to free the infant's nose from its dripping incumbrance, she pressed it hard with her thumb upwards the whole length, and thus threw off the nuisance with a jerk, by which the child's nose was pressed flat, and the forehead, between the eyes, indented. She said it was the custom, and that they had no handkerchiefs. Thus, the poor classes of several northern tribes are disfisrured,

    150                       Mr. Ranking on the Ruins of Palenque.                      

    are a good-humoured race, and some of the women are fair, affable, and so handsome, and have such regular features, that they would find numerous admirers in all the cities of Europe." -- Pallas, 5 vols. 4to, tom. i. p. 496, et seq. If, in consequence of the Spanish decree in 1585, these deformations were no longer practised, nature would resume her true features, and we accordingly find that "the inhabitants of Guatemala are celebrated for personal beauty and sweetness of disposition, the women being reputed the handsomest in Spanish America." -- Rees's Cyc., Guat. It was from the Oighours, in the part of Tartary in question, that the Emperor Kublai procured four or five hundred beautiful concubines annually. -- Marco Polo, Note, 527. -- Wars and Sports, p. 62.

    If we seek the cause of the Tartars and Americans forming their skulls in different shapes, it may fairly be conjectured, that in the manner of the negro afore-mentioned, it became a custom, in order to enable the warrior to prove that he had exhibited an enemy's head, his own nation being distinguished by some other peculiarity. It is remarkable, that the Turks and Calmucs are of the same region. -- See Humboldt on this subject. Researches, i. p. 126.

    VII. -- Two men, in highly decorated dresses mutually holding a jointed bent staff, about six feet long, (perhaps a bow) with a small human head at one end of it, and a head at the feet of each. They appear to be chiefs in earnest conference, as if pledging fidelity. They have long heads.

    VIII. -- Six large objects of border-writing, in which nothing is explicable, except a human eye and the cyphers which denote so many in number.

    IX. -- Two round brass medallic representations. The first is a large tree, with a huge serpent twined round it, and eleven objects, perhaps meant for fruit, among the leaves. A smaller tree, with six such objects. Another tree, with a bird perched above it, and four small trees, making seven trees. The second represents a man, with a cap, or turban, upon his head, naked, and kneeling upon a flight of several steps. A monstrous beast's head, with the jaws open, is seen before him, and another behind him, as if threatening to devour him. There are two trees, each with six of the fruit upon it, and four small trees, with part of another tree at the edge, making eight. The medal, says Dr.

                          Mr. Ranking on the Ruins of Palenque.                       151

    Cabrera, (p. 54.) represents the expulsion of the Chichemacas from Amaquemacan, which is the city of Palenque, and not in the north of Mexico, or in Asia, as others have described. The seven trees represent the seven tribes. * The large tree is cieba, or wild cotton, with a snake twisted round it, which shows Votan to be a Hivite and the principal posterity of Cadmus. Votan had brought the first settlers, seven families, from Hispaniolia. Having visited Tripoli, he was surprised on his return to find that seven more tribes had arrived and blended themselves with the others who were of the same origin: and that they were named Nahuatlacas or Tzequiles, the latter being the name by which the Mexicans are known by the natives of Chiapa. (p. 95. †)

    Remark. -- This medal is, without any doubt, of Calmuc origin. The destroying beast is exactly the same that appears in the representation of the idols of Sungore, or Zungore, Calmucs. In that of Iamandaga, this beast is running, with a condemned Calmuc upon his back. In another, of Erlik Han, ‡ he is trampling upon a wretched criminal. Iamandaga § is a destroyer, and is enveloped by a monstrous serpent, many yards long, the skin and claws of a tiger and other beasts, an elephant's head, and human limbs; he is crowned with skulls, and holds in one of his left hands, for he has six arms, and has upon his head likewise, a sceptre with a skull upon it, adorned with flowers, and a profusion of jewels, and a snake twisted about it ||. (Dr. Cabrera says, that Captain del Rio discovered in the Temple at Palenque, a figure of Isis, with a cap similar to that of Osiris, holding with both hands a twisted stick, adorned with flowers, having at one end a human head. -- Page 44.) Erlik Han is sovereign of the infernal regions; he has the human body, with a hideous face, and bulls' horns, and there are three divinities above him, to represent the sun, moon, and stars,

    * If the conjecture of Dr. Cabrera, that the trees relate to the seven tribes, he allowed, this medal is of the twelfth century. But it does not appear to the writer that the trees have any reference to the seven tribes. Medals were a part of the dress of a Tartar general. --- Conquest by Mongols, p. 216.

    † See Baron Humboldt's remarks on Votan, Wodan, Odin, of the Goths and Celts. -- Researches, Vol. i. 173, 319.

    ‡ See the plate, B.

    § See the plate, A.

    || This is, in many respects, similar to the Mexican God of Terror, Tetzauhteotl, whose "body was girt with a large golden snake, and adorned with various lesser figures of animals, made of gold and precious stones. They never made war without imploring the protection of this god with prayers, and offered up to him a greater number of human victims than to any other of the gods." -- Clavigero, i. 256.

    152                       Mr. Ranking on the Ruins of Palenque.                      

    who wear a head-dress in shape like a mitre. --- (Dr. Cabrera, page 38, describes an idol at Palenque, with a mitre, or cap, with bulls' horns, and says that, without doubt, it is Osiris.) So minutely do the descriptions of Dr. Cabrera agree with the figures in M. Chappe's volume, that he mentions a strap, or thong, with three ends, in the right hand of Osiris, and Iamandaga has precisely such a strap in his right hand. * This idol has upon his feet buskins, or caligae, similar to those on the soles of the feet of several persons in these plates.

    X. -- A man, probably a divinity, seated upon a kind of throne, supported by two beastslike panthers, with his right leg bent horizontally before him, dressed in a helmet and feathers, a fringed apron, a necklace and wrist ornaments, a small portion of border-writing of a human head. This figure has the long or high skull.

    Remark. -- The Calmuc divinities are represented with one or both legs under them, generally like Bhudda, (Chappe, Vol. i. several plates,) but this is more probably a Turcoman idol ; the Calmuc and Turquestan region being the same. This is the most civilised of all the figures. It has a kind of Persian elegance, like the Calmuc idol Zouncaba, in Chappe, Plate xxiii.

    XI. -- A full human figure, very fancifully decorated, the head of a bird over his head, and an instrument in his mouth, as if blowing it. Above the ancles, and at the wrists, it has ornaments round them; they appear to be composed of about twenty-five pieces of sticks or shells, three or four inches long, and close together.

    XII. -- A building, three stories of which are represented. They diminish in size at each story; the entrance is by doors: there are not any windows. The interior was filled with loose sandy earth. In the small turrets, at the top of the tower, there were two stones embedded in the walls, on which were sculptured two female figures, with extended arms, each supporting an infant, very imperfect, which appears to point out that this was the burial place of two queens. There were three crowned heads,

    * See the accompanying engravings, copied from Vol. i.303, 308, of Voyage en Siberie, par M. Chappe d'Auteroche, 3 vols, folio. Paris, 1768. The third volume is a description of Kamtchatka, by Professor Kracheninikof. This splendid work contains very numerous fine engravings. It is called two volumes, but is boHnd in three.

                          Mr. Ranking on the Ruins of Palenque.                       153

    represented with devices, like those of the Mexican kings. These circumstances, with Votan's history on the Medal, point out, as clearly as evidence can prove, that Amaquemacan is the Province of Chiapa, and not in Asia or the North of America. -- Dr. Cabrera, p. 58.

    Remark. -- There is nothing in this tower to show a different architecture from the Peruvians and Mexicans. A fire-temple in Persia is of superior architecture, but has, like the above, only a door, and no window; and it is also accompanied with bas-reliefs and tombs (Sir R. K. Porter's Travels. i. 562.) The houses in Thibet have no windows, and are entered by a ladder, just like Casa Grande, built by the Toltecs, N. lat. 29 degrees by California.

    XIII. -- A man highly and fantastically decorated; he has the long-head, armour upon his shoulders, jewels and ear-covers. His helmet is surmounted with a bird's head, with a fish in the beak; three more fish decorate the head-dress, as if for trophies; and there is in the border-writing an ugly, rather flat, head, with a fish upon it, to denote its nation or tribe. * There is a small idol, as a kneeling human figure, with a fabulous beast's head, and another such head at the girdle of the man; these heads are possibly meant for those of the wolf.

    Remark. -- The Persians name the natives of the ancient Gedrosia, Mahiser, or fish-heads, being somewhat similar to a marine monster, besides which they lived wholly on fish; (they are the ichthyophagi, through whose territory Alexander returned from India.) This country was conquered by Zagatai, son of Genghis Khan, in 1222. He destroyed the city of Tiz, and passed the winter at Quelanger, near the Indus; and as it belonged to Kublai, it affords a tolerably good proof that there were such troops with the Japanese expedition, and also of the modern origin of some of the people near to, or of Palenque. Kublai purposely weakened all his conquests by recruits for the reduction of China; and as he subdued that empire in one great battle near Canton, in 1280; with the surplus of his immense army he made the attempt on Japan, in 1283. -- See Bibliotheque Orientale, "Mahiser." Petis de la Croix, p. 336. Wars and Sports, p. 508.

    * See the plate, E,

    154                       Mr. Ranking on the Ruins of Palenque.                      

    XIV. -- Ground-plan of a building, very simple.

    XV. -- A man in a helmet, seated; upon the seat there is represented a hand cut off. Another man in a helmet, a girdle in his left hand, marked with arrow-heads, and holding an instrument in his other hand, in an attitude as if to cut off the left hand of the man upon the seat. These have the long-shaped head.

    XVI. -- A circle, in which is a couch, or seat, formed of a quadruped, like a cat, with a head at each end, and at one end a human face, or head; a man sits, upon the seat with his legs under him, and his right hand upon his breast; a human hand and some flowers are upon his head. A figure, apparently a female, kneeling, presents to bim a flower-pot, with a plant in it; both of these have long-heads. There is some border-writing, among which are four human heads. Underneath, upon a stone, there is more border-writing, two small human figures, and one head.

    XVII. -- An ornamental front, or entrance to a building, decorated with two birds and two snakes. The design, on the whole, is not devoid of taste.

    [To be continued.]

    [ 323 ]

    Remarks on the Ruins at Palenque in Guatemala, and on the Origin of the American Indians, with a note on Fossil Remains, By John Ranking, Esq.

    (Continued from our last vol. and concluded.)

    Guatemala and Yucatan have been proved, by the remarks on the ruins at Palenque, to bear strong evidence of their having been peopled by Asiatics; Turks, Moguls, and Calmucs. Identifications of a more general nature will now be given, which will probably not leave any doubt on the subject. They are derived from a Spaniard who is a native of the city of New Guatemala. * When the Toltecs arrived in Guatemala, their king Nima Quiche died during their journey from Tula, and his three brothers divided the country between them. From this family, all the progeny of kings derive their origin, (pp. 165, 404). They found the country possessed by different nations, (p. 161). ‡ The third Toltecan emperor, Hunahpu,

    * A Statistical and Commercial History of the Kingdom of Guatemala, from original records in the archives, actual observations, &c. by Don Domingo Juarros. Translated by Lieutenant J. Bailey, R. M. 8vo. London, 1823.

    † We have seen that the Toltecs emigrated from Anahuac, A.D. 1052, See this Journal, No. V. p. 143.

    324                         Mr. Ranking on Ancient Guatemala.                        

    is celebrated for discovering the use of cocoa and cotton (p. 164).

    Remark. -- It thus appears tolerably evident, that the nations on the arrival of the Toltecs, A.D. 1052, had neither kings, cocoa, nor cotton, which marks two epochs of population; and some of the following facts give every reason to conclude that a third epoch dates from the invasion of Japan, in 1283.

    Anil is the American name for indigo, in Guatemala. -- (Juarros 263. Rees's Cyc. "Indigo.") It was known to the Romans and to modern Europe, by the names of indicum and indigo. Nil and anil are the Arabic and Asiatic words. -- (Purchas, vol. v, 570). Those who knew not the use of cocoa and cotton, were not likely to manufacture indigo.

    Balam Acan, the fifth emperor of the Toltecs, was carried in a rich chair of state, splendidly ornamented with gold, emeralds, and other jewels, upon the shoulders of his nobles -- (p, 174). Sinacam, when he approached in his litter, preceded by trumpets and drums, addressed Alvarado, the Spaniard, as a descendant of the Sun; (having the same awe for that race as the Mexicans and Peruvians;) Sinacam wore a crown, and held a sceptre in his hand. -- (pp. 424, 448, and Las Casas, p. 41).

    The Guatemalans had pyramids like those of Mexico (463). They sacrificed a Spaniard and some Indians of Tlascala, to their Idol Camanelon (p. 443), and others to their Idol Esbalanquen, (p. 471). They used the skulls as drinking cups, and ate human flesh (p. 356). -- Such are the Calmuc Idols in this journal, "No. V. p. 145.

    The province of Quiche, so named from the first Toltec leader from Anahuac (p. 163), had for its capital the city of Utatlan, the most magnificent in Guatemala while under its native sovereigns. The castle, of hewn stone, was four stories high, 376 paces in front, and 728 in depth; the palaces were equal to those of Montezuma and the Incas. The streets were narrow. The population was so great, that it furnished 72,000 combatants to oppose the Spaniards. There was a superb edifice, in which above 5000 children were educated under 70 masters. In one of the saloons of the castle stood the

                            Mr. Ranking on Ancient Guatemala.                         325

    throne, covered with four canopies of plumage, and the ascent was by several steps. It contained the treasury, court of justice, the armory, gardens, aviaries, and menageries. The fourth and fifth divisions were for the queens, and royal concubines, who were maintained most magnificently. The sixth division was for the king's daughters, and others of the blood royal (pp. 85-88). There were many other considerable cities in this, said to be the most populous portion of America at the Spanish conquest.

    After Mitlan * was taken by the Spaniards, they marched to Esquipulas and to the city of Copan; the name of the Cacique was Calel. † There was a great circus near this opulent and populous city. Calel had 30,000 veteran troops armed with bows, slings, and swords with stone (flint) edges. His entrenchment was defended on one side by a mountain, and by a deep fosse formed of strong beams, the interstices filled with earth, in which were embrazures and loop holes, for the discharge of their arrows at the enemy. A shower of pikes, stones, and arrows, obliged the Spaniards to retreat precipitately; the next assault lasted the whole day. The Indians had shields of tapir skins, ‡ and with pikes hardened in the fire, obliged Hernando de Chaves again to retreat. In the next desperate conflict, a part of the palisade gave way, and the cavalry entered: the Indians fled. Calel quickly returned reinforced, and was defeated, but escaped. He afterwards sent ambassadors with a present of gold and a mantle to Chaves, and was received into protection with great distinction. Near this place, on the farm of Penol, some gigantic skeletons were found, the shin bones of which measured near two varas in length, a vara is thirty-three inches English (pp. 45, 303.) In the valley of Petapa near Old Guatemala, a molar tooth was found, as large as a man's two fists, (p. 492). (Here is a chief with a Mogul name, elephants' bones, and a stockade like those of the Burmese and Assamese. The writer has

    * There are ruins of some elegance at this place, which are not supposed to be of an older date than the thirteenth or fourteenth century. Humboldt, ii. 158.

    † This is a Mogul name; Calil was grandson and successor to Tamerlane.

    ‡ Tapirs are often mentioned by Juarros, as very numerous in Guatemala. This noble region is the Italy of America. Some of the cedars are seven fathoms in circumference (p. 233).

    326                       Mr. Ranking on Ancient Guatemala.                      

    conjectured, that part of the Japan expedition was from Assam, which at that period belonged to the Moguls.)

    At the conquest of Quiche, the Spaniards were opposed by Tecum Umam, who had 232,000 warriors. "He had fortified towns, and in his camp were several military machines, or small castles, formed of beams and planks, which, being placed upon rollers, were moved by armed men. They were filled with great quantities of pikes, arrows, lances, shields, slings, and stones; and attended by chosen bodies of soldiers, to distribute them, (p. 390)." -- This is very like the warfare of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane; the arms are the same. The only difference is, that in Asia, the military machines were drawn by cattle. The golden chair, schools, indigo, architecture, idols, throne, menageries, arms, stockades, and remains of elephants, all tend to prove that Calel was a Chinese Mogul. It is very curious, that some natives of India, in the neighbourhood of Ava, are described in the Periplus, (Sequel by Vincent, p. 115), with "heads long from the forehead to the chin, and projecting like the face of a horse." See the plate in this Journal, No. V. p. 144. Ava had been invaded by Oguz the Turk, about 650 years B.C.

    The manuscript of Francisco Garcia Calel Tzumpan Xavila, a descendant from the kings of Quichd, written in 1544, relates that thirteen armies left the old continent, headed by as many principal families, who were all related, but five were more illustrious than the rest -- the families of Capichoch, Cochohlam, Mahquinalo, Ahcanail, and Belehebcan. * From Capichoch the family of Nimaquiche and all the royal Guatemalans are descended. The Quiches and Mexicans were of the same race and acknowledged relationship. When Montezuma was imprisoned by Cortez, he sent a private message to Kikab Tanub for assistance. † A certain stone which their forefathers had brought from Egypt, and which they worshipped, split in two

    * In personal names this may mean Khan. Genghiscan is the usual spelling of French authors.

    † The Mexican History relates, that Montezuma's predecessor carried his victorious arms to Guatemala. It is, however, denied by Juarros that the Mexicans conquered that kingdom: he says they were repulsed, but that vast numbers of Mexicans were sent, under the disguise of merchants, to settle themselves preparatory to future endeavours.

                Mr. Ranking on the Origin of the American Indians.             327

    suddenly, which omen portended certain ruin. * The Indians, who came with the Spaniards from Mexico and Tlascala, were persuaded of the identity of their origin with the Guatemalans, Juarros, p. 165. It was in Veragua, the south province of Guatemala, that Columbus saw the first solid architecture of stone and lime, and copper hatchets at Honduras. He found a warlike people, and a chief, at whose dwelling 300 skulls of enemies were exhibited. Columbus felt persuaded that this was the coast of Asia. (See Life of Columbus, by Washington Irving, vol. iii. pp. 200, 225, 259.) Thus the architecture and civilization of Guatemala cannot be referred to an earlier period than A.D. 1052, and much of it is no doubt considerably later, from its corresponding with the gigantic style of the Peruvians and Mexicans.... [remainder not copied]


    Barbara Anne Simon
    The Hope of Israel...
    London: R. B. Seeley, 1829

  • pp. 250-259

  • PRESUMTIVE  EVIDENCE     (pp. 250-59)

    ...'It is impossible,' says Pennant, 'with the light we have to admit that America could receive the bulk of its inhabitants from any country by Asia' [Of the Patagonians, 1788?] With regard to the number of languages, or rather dialects, of which there are said to be more than a thousand, a learned author observes -- 'If an Englishman of the present day is puzzled to understand the English language of the fourteenth century, where writing or printing has always been used, what stability of language is to be expected among those who have never had an alphabet.' Many historical works have fallen into the hands of the Bishop of Chiapa, who was not more zealous, for what he thought the glory of God, than mistaken at his interpretations of them. The illustrious prelate could have communicated a much greater portion of information relative to Votan the first native historian, but feeling some scruples on account of the mischievous use the Indians made of their histories, he thought proper to withhold it. Although, says he, in these tracts and papers, there are many other things touching primitive paganism, they are not mentioned on this epitome, lest, by being brought into notice, they should be the means of confirming more strongly an idolatrous superstition. I have made this digression, that it may be observed in the notices of the Indians, (the word idols is here used, which seems to be an error of the press) and the substance of the primitive errors, in which they were instructed by their ancestors' [Diocesan Constitution printed at Rome in 1702]. 'It is to be regretted, continues Dr. Cabrera, that the place is unknown where these precious documents of history are deposited; but still more is it to be lamented, that the great treasure should have been destroyed; according to the Indian tradition, it was placed by Votan himself, as a proof of his origin, and a memorial future ages. He comitted this deposit to a distinguished female, and a certain number of Indians appointed annually for the purpose of its safe custody. His mandate was scrupulously obeyed for many ages by the people of Tacaologa, where it was guarded with care, until being discovered by the prelate above mentioned, he obtained and destroyed it. Let me give his own words from his preface. 'This treasure consisted of some large earthen vases of one piece, and closed with covers of the same material, on which were represented in stone, the figures of the ancient Indian pagans, whose names are in the calendar, with some green stones and other superstitious figures. These were publicly burnt in the square, &c.' The memoir in the possession of Don Ramon de Ordonez y Aguiar, consists of five or six folios of common quatro paper, written in ordinary characters in the Tzendal language, an evident proof of its having been copied from the original in hieroglyphicks. At the top of the first leaf the two continents are painted in different colours, in two small squares parallel to each other in the angles; the one representing Europe, Asia and Africa are marked with two large SS upon the upper arms of two bars drawn from the opposite angles of each square, forming the point of union in the centre. He states that he conducted seven tribes from Valum Votan to this continent, and assigned lands to them: that he is the third of the Votans. Antonio del Rio sent by His Majesty Charles III, to examine the antiquities of the new world, discovered two figures that represent Votan on both continents, and an historical event, the memory of which he was derirous of transmitting to future ages. By comparing Votan's narrative with the duplicate effigies of him, which were found sculptured on stones in one of the temples of the unknown city, we shall have a very conclusive proof of its truth, and this will be corroberated by so many others, that we shall be forced to acknowledge this history of the origin of the aborigines excels those of the Greeks and Romans, and the most celebrated nations of the world, and is even worthy of being compared with that of the Hebrews themselves [Cabrera, p. 38]. The same Votan makes mention of having visited that land where the house of God was. The Spanish priests concluded that this must have alluded to his visiting Rome, and seeing there the church of St. Peter. Their other ancient traditions, the Romanists also believed, must have come to them through the preaching of the apostle Thomas!!...

    Clavigero, speaking of Quetzalcoatl, says the Mexicans believed this deity had been the chief priest at Tula, the capital of Tulteca, and that he was of a white complexion, tall, and broad, with a high forehead, large eyes, long black hair, and a thick beard; a man of austere and exemplary life, clothed with long garments from a sense of modesty, of a most gentle and prudent disposition, which showed itself in the laws he enacted for the good of the people; added to which, he was very expert in the arts of metling metals and of polishing precious stones, which he taught the Tultecas. Tescatlipoca, or God, being desirous of withdrawing Quetzalcoatl from Tula, appeared to him under the form of a man, stating it was the will of the gods that he should go to the kingdom of Hapalla to obtain immortality...

    'All writers,' observes Dr. Cabrera, 'have been surprized at the ingenious method pursued by the Indians, from a very remote period, without adopting the practice of any of the polished countries of the old Continent, as for example, the visisions of the months into twenty days. Failing in their efforts to trace an imitation, they have been obliged to confess that this singular system, so far from being inferior to, does actually excel that of the most polished nations in the world.' The author, under the idea that they are Carthaginians, goes on to say what, under that of their being of Israelitish extraction, is wonderfully just. 'The reason, according to my humble judgment, which induced the Mexicans to deviate from the Egyptian practice and form a distinct system for themselves, could be no other than this, viz as they had constituted themselves a separate people, and independent of the nations of the old Continent, they determined to lay aside the Egyptian style which was in common use with the Carthagenians and other nations of the old hemisphere, and by reserving the original basis, from which, indeed, it was no easy matter to depart, in order to form a new system, analogous both to their origin, and to the wandering life of their forefathers, during the hundred and four years or domiciles, before they came to occupy the American soil.' 'With regard to relics,' the learned author observes, 'without going back or reverting to losses that are now beyond the power of remedy, I will confine myself to some recent important discoveries which may be preserved, should they attract attention, from the superior authorities.' He then mentions that a small jar of fine clay had been found about twelve feet below the surface of the ground, containing two hundred different brass medals. 'Don Ramon Ordonez, and Don Gabriel Chacon y Goday, related to me, a native Indian, had discovered in a cavern many sacred vessels and utensils of silver, and repeatedly intreated him to go and take possession of them: but perceiving the Vicar had not sufficient confidence in him, to credit his report, he brought as a proof of his veracity a silver chalice: it was very broad at the foot, and the cup shaped like an inverted pyramid, and on being compared with others of a similar make preserved in the church, 'it is' he adds, presumable it may be attributable to the times of the Apostles.' The chalice in question was destined by the Curate for an oratory on an estate of his own called Rossario. The Licentiate Don Francisco Ortiz also informed me, that there is in the possession of the present Curate of Saint Catherine of Yatahnacam, a little historical book of an Hebrew Indian nation, 'which,' continues the author, 'may probably be that of Been, mentioned by Nunez de la Vega. In the inner court of the house on the Inciesto estate, there is also a stone tablet, supported upon feet, having hieroglyphics on the four corners of the superfices and on three of its edges. This must have been table used in sacrifices.'...


    Transcriber's Comments

    The Popularization of the Palenque Ruins
    in Publications of the 1820s & 1830s, and
    the Impact of the News upon the Mormons

    The First Example of Mayan Art Ever Published in Europe
    (a plate from von Humboldt's 1810 Vues des Cordilleres...)

    Chronology of the Exploration and Publicization
    of the Mayan Ruins near Palenque, Mexico.

    For more details see: Roberto Romero Sandoval's
    "Travelers in Palenque, 18th and 19th Centuries..."
    Boletín del Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliograficas II:1, 1997

    1702 The Bishop of Chiapa, Don Francisco Nunez de la Vega, has his "Diocesan Constitutions," printed at Rome. The book contains the first account of the ancient figure Votan.

    1726-39 Benito Jerónimo Feijóo y Montenegro publishes his Teatro Critico Universal at Madrid. The fifth volume of his serialized work contained his ideas on the original population of the Americas, Votan, etc.

    1736-44 Lorenzo Boturini Benaducci, a native of Milan, travels in Mexico with the permission of the Spanish government, collecting preColumbian antiquities. He evidently visited near the site of the Palenque ruins. Upon his return to Spain, Boturini wrote a history of ancient Mexico, still unpublished when he died in 1753

    1773 Fray Ramon Ordoñez y Aguilar, Canon of the Cathedral in Cuidad Real de Chiapas (San Cristobal de las Casas), hears rumors of ancient "stone houses" lost in the jungles of Chiapas Province. He moves to the small pueblo of Santo Domingo del Palenque and investigates the nearby ruins

    1784 - Dec. Intrigued by accounts from Fray Ramon and other reporters, Jose de Estacheria, the Spanish Governor of Guatemala, orders the Mayor of Santo Domingo de Palenque, Jose Antonio Calderon, to visit the ruins and compile a report of them suitable for submission to the Spanish King. Part of the Governor's motivation in ordering this investigation is to help settle the question of where the original inhabitants of the Americas came from.

    1785 - Jan. ? Calderon visits the ruins and drafts a preliminary survey, which he submits to Governor de Estacheria early in 1785.

    1785 - spring ? Governor Jose de Estacheria receives the first report on the ruins and decides to supplement its contents with further investigations at the site, conducted by Antonio Bernaconi, the Guatemalan governmental architect. Bernasconi discovers the city was not destroyed by war or natural causes, but was simply abandoned by its residents. Governor Estacheria forwards the first and second reports to the King of Spain.

    1785-86 The King receives the Guatemalan reports, consults with Jean-Baptiste Muñoz, Historian for Spanish America, and orders Governor Estacheria to continue the survey of the Palenque site by conducting excavations there. The Governor in Guatemala receives a royal order, dated May 15th, 1786, requiring "another examination of the ruins discovered in the vicinity of Palenque," but the architect Bernasconi died before a third expedition could be assembled.

    1787 - Mar. Governor de Estacheria sends Captain Jose Antonio del Rio (1745-1789) to renew exploration of the ruins. Del Rio, a Spanish army officer who came to Gautemala in 1775, obeys the royal order and puts together an exploratory expedition from Santo Domingo de Palenque to the nearby ruins.

    1787 - May Del Rio, accompanied by artist Ricardo Almendariz, visits and partly excavates the ruins. Del Rio writes a report of his discoveries there, illustrated by Almendariz, in which he gives the first detailed description of the Palenque ruins. To help authenticate his report del Rio removed a stucco head from a building carving at the ruins; this he sent to the Governor (who forwarded it to Spain) as an example of ancient Mayan bas-relief work.

    1787 - June Del Rio submits his final report to Governor de Estacheria, accompanied by numerous sketches of the ruins prepared by Almendariz. Del Rio gives no exact opinion on who constructed the Palenque ruins, but says: "the ancient inhabitants of these structures... in their fabulous superstitions, we seem to view the idolatry of the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Romans... it may reasonably be conjectured, that some one of these nations pursued their conquests even to this country... remained long enough to enable the Indian tribes to imitate their ideas..." This illustrated report was sent to Spain, but a copy of the manuscript (partly however in the handwriting of Muñoz ?) was retained by the authorities in the Guatemalan capital. No known mention of del Rio's work at the Palenque ruins was published in Spain, but a few years later at least a portion of his report, along with a number of its illustrations received public notice elsewhere.

    1789 Captain del Rio dies in Guatemala.

    Original 1787 Mayan Relief Illustration by Ricardo Almendariz
    (the artist who accompanied Antonio del Rio to Palenque)

    1794 Dr. Pablo Felix Cabrera, a Spanish intellectual living in Guatemala comes upon a "brass medal," inscribed on either side with what he believes are ancient American engravings. On June 2, 1794 Cabrera submits to the King of Spain his interpretation of the figures engraved on this strange medallion. In Cabrera's opinion, the figures "fully authenticate" what the folk-hero "Votan relates in his history" and prove "the American tradition as to his origin and his expulsion from the kingdom of Amaguemecan..." It appears likely that, in his efforts to document the historical of this particular "brass medal," Dr. Cabrera somehow gained access to del Rio's illustrated 1787 report.

    1796 Dr. Pablo Felix Cabrera writes his "Critical Investigation and Research into the History of the Americans," in which he further develops his theory that the Phoenicians first settled the Caribbean and Meso-America, and that Hispaniola was Plato's Atlantis (referred to in some legends as "Septimania"). Cabrera makes only marginal use of del Rio's report in this regard, but he offers the example of the ancient ruins near Palenque in support of his theory of the Phoenician origin of American civilization. According to Cabrera's opinion, the ancient hero Votan was a trans-Atlantic voyager from the shores of Canaan, but his jumping off point for voyages to the Americas was the Phoenician port of Gades at the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula. Gades (later the Spanish city of Cadiz) was founded by the Phoenicians about 1100 BCE; was taken over by the Phoenician Carthaginians about 500 BCE and finally became a Roman ally in 206 BCE. By placing Votan's voyages to the Americas before that date, Cabrera gives the impression that the New World was visited and occupied by proto-Spaniards, many centuries before Cortez landed in Mexico. Apparently Cabrera died without ever seeing his work published, either in Guatemala or in Spain.

    1807-08 Captain Guillermo Dupaix, accompanied by artist Jose Luciano Castañeda, is despatched by the King of Spain to conduct explorations in Central America. Dupaix visits Palenque, where Castañeda makes 145 drawings of the ruins. The full report of this expedition never makes it to the Spanish archives, but a portion of its contents is donated by Castañeda to the Cabinet of Natural History at Mexico City. In 1828, the French scholar Henri Baradere obtains a copy from the Mexican government and the Dupaix account, along with some of Castañeda's drawings, finally sees publication in Paris during the early 1830s in volumes 4, 5, & 6 of Lord Kingsborough's Antiquites Mexicaines.

    1808 Domingo Juarros publishes the first volume of his Historia de la Ciudad de Guatemala in Central America, including in it the first printed portrayal of the Palenque ruins. Juarros evidently had access to extracts from the reports of del Rio and Dupaix -- he accurately describes the "temples, altars, deities, sculptures, and monumental stones" of the ruined city and says that "they bear testimony to its great antiquity." Although Juarros was ready to match the magnificence of the ruins to any other civilization's architecture, he was more inclined to view the site as "an Egyptian colony" than the work of native Indians. This history was translated into English by John Baily and published in London as the "Statistical and Commercial History of the Kingdom of Guatemala," in 1823. (See pp. 18-19 of the English edition for mentions of Captain del Rio, etc.).

    1808-11 Alexander von Humboldt publishes Part 3 of his Voyage aux Régions Equinoxiales du Nouveau Continent... under the title of "Essai Politique sur la Royaume de la Nouvelle-Espagne." English ed. 1811

    1810 Alexander von Humboldt publishes the first illustration of an ancient Mayan relief (obtained for him by Mexican scholar Cervantes) from the Palenque ruins, as "Plate 11" in Part 1 of his Voyage aux Régions Equinoxiales du Nouveau Continent... under the title of "Vues des Cordilleres et Monuments des Peuples Indigenes de l'Amerique." Humboldt, who never personally visited the region around Palenque, mistakenly identifies this illustration as coming from Oaxaca. In the same book, on pages 47-52, von Humboldt reproduces part of the "Dresden" Codex, but fails to identify its character writing as Mayan glyphs. The first English translation of this book was issued in London in 1814, as "Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent..."

    1808-11 Alexander von Humboldt publishes Part 3 of his English Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent... under the title, "Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain."

    1814 Alexander von Humboldt publishes Part 1 of his English Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent... under the title, "Researches Concerning the Institutions & Monuments of the Ancient Inhabitants of America..." in London. This included his Palenque graphic, as Plate 11.

    1816 - Oct. Solomon Spalding dies in Pennsylvania. A student of the classics and American antiquities, he would have been very interested in the unpublished archaeological discoveries being made in Mexico and Central America. He never sees the del Rio report, the Almendariz drawings, nor the 1796 work by Cabrera. Spalding may, however, have read some of the sourves cited by Cabrera, along with Alexander von Humboldt's pre-1816 writings in English translation. It seems a given fact that Spalding encountered the theory of a Phoenician discovery of the Americas from his professor, Dr. John Smith of Dartmouth College. Smith would have been aware of the Votan legend which so excited Mr. Cabrera.

    1819 Dr. Francois Corroy, a French resident of the Province of Tanbsco, begins studying Mayan artifacts in Central America. He becomes interested in the Palenque ruins and occasionally visits there, taking notes for a book he hopes to have published someday. According to Corroy, it was about this same time (1820-21) that Jean Frederic Maxmilien, the self-appointed "Comte de Waldeck" (1766-1875), began to occupy "a small house erected upon the [Palenque] ruins." Actually Waldeck's first visit to the region was only a temporary one; he would not return to actually live at the Palenque ruins until about 1826. Although Corroy and Waldeck occasionally cooperate in their studies of Mayan antiquities they maintain independent (and somewhat rival) programs of exploration and reporting

    1821 After years of struggle the Criollo of Central America receive political independence from Spain. They form the "United Province of Central America," spanning the region between Guatemala and Costa Rica. The confederation only lasts 16 years. During the political upheaval, some materials from the Guatemalan archives and some writings of the old Spanish scholars come into public view. Among these papers is Dr. Pablo Felix Cabrera's "Critical Investigation and Research into the History of the Americans."

    1822 - July On July 22 a newspaper in western New York reports the discovery of the Palenque ruins and their having "been accurately surveyed by a learned Spaniard," in 1787. The same news item was printed in many other newspapers at that time.

    1822 - summer Doctor MacQuy, an Englishman visiting Guatemala City, comes across Dr. Pablo Felix Cabrera's "Critical Investigation and Research into the History of the Americans," as well as the 1787 report of Captain del Rio and several of the 1787 Almendariz illustrations. It is unclear whether the visitor obtained these works in the form of Spanish or English manuscript pages, however the text was made available in English after he obtained these materials and brought them to London. Jean Frederic Maxmilien, "Comte de Waldeck," evidently had some role in MacQuy's selling these pages to H. Berthoud, who, in turn, employed Waldeck to transform the old survey illustrations into lithographs. He produced 17 engravings, rendering the old Almendariz images as practically unshaded "coloring book" style graphic plates, marked "J-F. W." The "Preface" of the booklet states: "Reference will be found to drawings mentioned by captain Del Rio, which did not fall into... [our] hands... other designs are described which do not appear to coincide precisely with any of the accompanying plates." It appears likely that only a small number of the Almendariz drawings had survived and that Waldeck constructed some of his engravings from copies a certain Mr. Latour-Allard had obtained of Castañeda's artwork.

    1822 - Dec. The London Eclectic Review publishes its review: "Description of the Ruins..." Similar, shorter notices appear in various British periodicals, providing the English public knowledge of the Palenque ruins

    1824 Chiapas is detached from the United Province of Central America and becomes a Mexican state. Henceforth access to and preservation of the ruins near Palenque will depend largely upon Mexican politics. However, the view that the "antiquities" of southern Mexico were the product of an indigenous civilization, and not that of colonists from Cadiz, becomes increasingly popular. In time the people of Mexico will come to look upon the Mayan architecture and art as a national treasure.

    1824 John V. Yates and Joseph W. Moulton publish Vol I of their History of the State of New York and make prominent mention of the 1822 del Rio booklet on pp. 73-77. Copies of the Yates & Moulton history were readily available in western New York prior to 1830.

    1824 William Bullock publishes his Six Months Residence and Travels in Mexico in London, mentioning the Del Rio report on page 331. In 1824 Bullock held a grand exhibition of Mexican antiquities at the Egyptian Hall in London's Picadilly; there he displayed 52 different items (many of them precious pieces of pre-Columbian art and writing). The event was reported in the newspapers and public awareness of and interest in Central American antiquities was greatly increased in western Europe.

    1825 On pp. 165-70 of Vol. 7 of the Museum of Foreign Literature and Science, appears an article on the antiquities of Mexico and Egypt. Del Rio's account is mentioned.

    1825 The Geographical Society of Paris offers prizes of four thousand francs each for the best accounts of various subjects pertaining to American antiquities. A gold medal is offered for the best description of these ruins, received before the beginning of 1836. Investigation of the ruins at Palenque obviously ranks at the top of the Society's archaeological wish-list.

    1825-27 Mr. Waldeck, having a desire to see Central American artwork with his own eyes, accepts a job as a mining engineer in Michoacan, but soon moves from there to Mexico City, where he draws objects in the National Museum for publication by the government. In about 1827 Waldeck decides to move to Chiapas and spend the next several years documenting the art and architecture of the Palenque ruins. However, he does not permanently relocate there until 1832.

    1826 Dr. Francois Corroy publishes a comprehensive account of his labors and discoveries at Palenque. Since the report is printed in Spanish and appears in an obscure journal in Vera Cruz, the outside scientific world takes little notice of Corroy's findings.

    1827 Constantine S. Rafinesque (1783-1840) acquires copies of Mayan glyphs from the Dresden Codex and from the plates accompanying the 1822 publication of Del Rio's report. He begins the first, rudimentary attempt at "deciphering" the writing system used in ancient Palenque. He announces his work in the Jan. 13, 1827 issue of the Saturday Evening Post.

    1827-32 Dr. Francois Corroy sends numerous reports and archaeological samples to the Geographical Society of Paris, documenting his work at the Palenque site. He begins to be a prime candidate for the receipt of the Society's advertised gold medal prize.

    1828 Mark Beaufoy publishes his 310 page Mexican Illustrations in London, mentioning the del Rio report on pp. 218-23.

    1828 Constantine S. Rafinesque issues some reports of his effort to translate Mayan glyphs. He sees notices of his work published in a few journals and newspapers, but without any accompanying illustrations.

    1828 John Ranking publishes his Remarks on the Ruins at Palenque, in Guatemala, and on the Origin of the American Indians in London, examining Captain del Rio excavations and other early explorations of the site.

    1828 - Feb. Martin Harris, a neighbor of Joseph Smith, obtains a reproduction of the "Nephite characters" Smith claims comprise the original text to the Book of Mormon. Harris carries the copy of these characters to Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell at Columbia College, New York City, hoping to obtain Mitchell's certification of them as a specimen of ancient writing. Harris fails to obtain any such affidavit from Mitchell or any other New York academic. Harris also visits Prof. Anthon, who later reported that Harris' copy of Book of Mormon characters included "a rude delineation of a circle divided into various compartments, decked with various strange marks, and evidently copied after the Mexican Calender given by Humboldt."

    1829 Barbara Anne Simon publishes in London her Hope of Israel; Presumptive Evidence that the Aborigines of the Western Hemisphere are Descended from the Ten Missing Tribes of Israel, which mentions the "lost city" of Captain del Rio's report, along with some quotations from Paul Felix Cabrera's essay.

    1829 Constantine S. Rafinesque finally identifies the Dresden Codex as a Mayan book. Von Humboldt published graphics from the ancient work as early as 1810, but Rafinesque's article is the first in which some of the codex glyphs are successfully matched up with examples of Mayan writing (as published in 1822 along with Captain del Rio's Palenque exploration report). Working only with these sketchy published sources, Rafinesque is able to conclude that Mayan glyphs are a form of character writing; that the dot and bar glyphs constitute the Mayan numerical system, and that the language of the ancient writing must be similar to the modern spoken Mayan tongue. Rafinesque's other conclusion -- that the glyphs are of west African origin -- proves to be far too controversial and his attempts at offering translations are not taken seriously by professional linguists and historians.

    1829 - June Joseph Smith registers his copyright to the Book of Mormon at Utica, New York. Although Smith may have heard some vague reports concerning Mayan ruins and artifacts, it is improbable that he ever saw the 1822 publication of del Rio's report and Cabrera's comments.

    1830-48 Various volumes of Lord Kingsborough's Antiquites Mexicaines are published, including in their pages French translations of the reports of Del Rio and Dupaix.

    1831 - spring Colonel Juan Galindo, the English-born Governor of Peten, Guatemala, and a member of the British Geographic Society, visits Palenque and sketches the ruins. He sends information on the ruins to Europe where nearly 30 different notices of his work are reported in English and French scientific journals between 1831 and 1836. Galindo concludes that the builders and former residents of the Palenque ruins were native Americans and the ancestors of the Maya. At about this time the Geographical Society of Paris renews its offer of a prize for the best account of the Palenque ruins. Galindo, through the medium of his various reports, appears to have won the competition in 1836, but he is killed in the fighting accompanying the break-up of the United Province of Central America before he can claim the Society's medal and monetary reward.

    1831 - Sept. Death of Samuel L. Mitchell (1764-1831), renowned professor of Columbia College (now Columbia University). Prior to his death, Dr. Mitchell cultivated an interest in the antiquities of Mexico and Central America. This inspired Francois Corroy to open a correspondence with Mitchell in 1830 and to ship to New York various items from the Palenque ruins for Mitchell's inspection.

    1831 - fall Samuel Ackerly inherits Mitchell's papers and decides to carry on the correspondence with Corroy in Mexico. He subsequently receives a great deal of information on the Palenque ruins, including plaster copies of certain examples of ancient artwork from the site.

    1832-33 In April of 1831, Waldeck receives the commendation of the Mexican Vice President in his proposal to document the Palenque ruins. After waiting a year for the funding, he arrives at Palenque in May 1832 and begins his work. He takes up residence atop the "Temple of the Cross" at the site and devotes the next two years to various excavations and to completing his studies at the ruins.

    1832 - March The American Quarterly Review publishes a piece of "Central America" in which the writer accepts Captain del Rio's speculations and Paul Felix Cabrera's essay as a plausible relation of Indian origins.

    1832 - spring Constantine S. Rafinesque begins publication of a new scientific periodical, the Atlantic Journal, in Philadelphia. In this organ Rafinesque publishes a number of his papers on biology and various other topics. However, it seems that his major reason for initiating this new magazine is to secure publication of his controversial opinions regarding the African origin of Meso-American cultures and his alleged decipherment of Mayan hieroglyphics. The journal does not receive the support of the scientific community and lasts only for 8 issues. Of particular interest among its heterogeneous contents are Rafinesque's first and second letters "to Mr. Champollion" regarding Rafinesque's views on "the Graphic systems of America and the glyphs of Otolum" -- the latter word being Rafinesque's designation for the Palenque archaeological site -- published in the Spring and Summer 1832 issues of the Journal. These are conveniently reprinted in Josiah Priest's American Antiquities.

    1833 - May On May 5th, 1833 Dr. Francois Corroy, writes to Samuel Akerly in New York City, saying: "As to Mr. Waldeck's being in Mexico, as announced in one of your newspapers, as you inform me, it is not so. He occupies a small house erected upon the [Palenque] ruins, where he has resided fourteen years, making drawings and excavations as far as his limited means will allow..."

    1833 June On June 1, 1833 Dr. Francois Corroy, writes to Samuel Akerly in New York City, saying: "The last letter I received from Mr. Waldeck was written at the ruins, and dated 24th of May, 1833. He states that he has been informed, that in the United States there has been published in his name a work and drawings on the ruins, and he has requested me to contradict the authenticity of such a work..."

    1833 Sept. Dr. Samuel Ackerly reads a paper on the Palenque ruins before the New-York Lyceum of Natural History. In his presentation Ackerly tells of the late Samuel L. Mitchell's correspondence with Francois Corroy in Tabasco, Mexico and of Corroy's explorations in the ruins. Ackerly also provides information from Constantine S. Rafinesque and other sources on the topic. The presentation is noticed by the editor of The Knickerbocker, a New York periodical, who evidently took his text from a fall issue of the New York Post. The editor publishes Ackerly's paper (which, in turn, is copied into the New York Family Magazine and this second periodical subsequently re-publishes Ackerly's paper and reprints much of the 1822 del Rio-Cabrera booklet on Palenque.

    1833 fall? Waldeck returns to Europe and continues work on his heavily illustrated "Voyage archaeologique et pittoresque dans la Yucatan." He finally gets this book published in 1838.

    1833-34 Josiah Priest publishes the first and second editions of his American Antiquities. In his popular book Mr. Priest quotes at length from Constantine S. Rafinesque, Elias Boudinot, Ethan Smith, etc., on the subject of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas. Priest several times mentions Captain del Rio's report, Cabrera's comments, the Palenque ruins, the Family Magazine articles, etc. In the 1834 edition Priest quotes from Rafinesque in regard to Mormonism, whom both men seem to have viewed as a religious delusion.

    1833-34 On Dec. 7, 1833 the Family Magazine begins a 17-part serialization of the 1822 English translation of Captain del Rio's report and Pablo Felix Cabrera's comments. Del Rio's report comprises the first 5 articles (Dec. 7, Dec. 14. Dec. 21, Dec. 28, and Jan. 4), printed under the title "Ruins of an Ancient American City." Installments 6-9 (Jan. 11, Jan. 18, Jan. 25, and Feb. 1), under the same title, contain reports from Samuel Ackerly, an associate of the late Samuel L. Mitchell. The final 8 installments in the series (Feb. 8, Feb. 15, Feb. 22, Mar. 1, Mar. 8, Mar. 15, Mar. 22, and Mar. 29), under the title "Origin of the American Indians," are taken up with Cabrera's 1796 work.

    1834 - Aug. Dr. Francois Corroy writes to Constantine S. Rafinesque, expressing annoyance over Waldeck's reputation as the Champollion of Mexico. Corroy points out that Del Rio, Cabrera, Bemarions, Castañeda, and others had investigated the Palenque ruins long before Waldeck began documenting the art and writing of the Palenque ruins.

    1839 The revised edition of LDS Apostle Parley P. Pratt's "Voice of Warning," includes lengthy quotes from Priest's American Antiquities, as well as references to Rafinesque's "Otolum," and the writings of Del Rio, Cabrera, etc. Pratt presents all of this as proof for the supposed historicity of the Book of Mormon.

    1840 John L. Stephens and Frederick Catherwood undertake the most famous expedition to the Palenque ruins, culminating in the publication of Stephens' 1841 masterpiece Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan. The popularization of Stephens and Catherwoods' journey to Palenque does more to acquaint the reading public about the artifacts of the Mayan civilization than all the reports and books previously published on the subject.

    1841 Sept. Vol.2, No.22 of the Mormon newspaper, Times and Seasons, quotes from Priest's American Antiquities to provides this important news in support of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon: "The celebrated antiquarian Prof. Rafinesque says, in speaking of the writing found on the ruins of the stone city found in Mexico, 'The glyphs of Otolum are written from top to bottom like the Chinese, or from side to side, indifferently like the Egyptian and the Demotic Libian... in oblong squares, or tablets like those of Egypt'... on page 122 of the same work, is a facsimile of American hieroglyphics found in Mexico. -- They were arranged in columns..." A previous issue of the same paper, published in January, quoted Rafinesque at length on the subject of tomatos.

    1841 Mormon Elder Charles B. Thompson publishes his Evidences in Proof of the Book of Mormon, which mentions "Otolum," "del Rio," etc. on page 50 When Thompson writes his volume, John L. Stephens' monumental book is just being published: Thompson is content to simply reprint newspaper article quotations of Stephens' and Catherwood's lectures on the subject (see accounts beginning on page 241 and on page 248). Elder Thompson is obviously eager to equate the Book of Mormon civilizations with the pre-Columbian builders reported by Stephens and Catherwood, but he must wait another year before the Mormon leadership agrees to endorse this particular conceit.

    1842 - Sept. Vol.3, No.22 of the Mormon newspaper, Times and Seasons, quotes at length from John L. Stephens' Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan, and provides the editorial pronouncement that some of the ancient cities described in the Book of Mormon lay in Central America. The editor says: "The foregoing extract has been made to assist the Latter-Day Saints, in establishing the Book of Mormon as a revelation from God. It affords great joy to have the world assist us to so much proof, that even the most credulous cannot doubt.... these wonderful ruins of Palenque are among the mighty works of the Nephites: -- and the mystery is solved." According to the final words of that issue: "The Times and Seasons, Is edited, printed and published... [in] Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, by JOSEPH SMITH. The LDS readers of 1841 would have naturally read the editorial remarks of that issue as something akin to divine revelation conveyed by the top leader of the Church.

    1842 - Oct. Vol.3, No.23 of the Mormon newspaper, Times and Seasons, again quotes at length from John L. Stephens' new book (Vol. II pp. 258ff), telling about the explorers' visit to the Planque ruins. In the quoted passages both del Rio and Dupaix are mentioned. This time the Mormon editorial remarks are only slightly less definite: "We are not going to declare positively that the ruins of Quirigua are those of Zarahemla, but when the land and the stones, and the books tell the story so plain, we are of opinion, that it would require more proof than the Jews could bring to prove the disciples stole the body of Jesus from the tomb, to prove that the ruins of the city in question, are not one of those referred to in the Book of Mormon."

    1850 LDS Apostle Orson Pratt offers the following information, beginning on page 88, of his pamphlet Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon: "Professor Anthon, no doubt thought that this statement would militate against the Book of Mormon; but we consider it a great acquisition of evidence, confirmatory of the truth of that book, when compared with the discoveries of the glyph and characters among the ancient ruins of America. The celebrated antiquarian, Professor Rafinesque, in speaking of the glyphs discovered on the ruins of a stone city found in Mexico says: 'The glyphs of Otolum are written from top to bottom, like the Chinese... yet we find some formed, as it were, in oblong squares or tablets, like those of Egypt.' Two years after the Book of Mormon appeared in print, Professor Rafinesque, in his Atlantic Journal for 1832, gave the public a facsimile of American glyphs found in Mexico.... [Elder Martin Harris] according to Professor Anthon's testimony, got some three or four years the start of Professor Rafinesque, and presented him with the genuine elementary glyphs years before the Atlantic Journal made them public... But as Joseph Smith was an unlearned young man living in the country, where he had not access to the writings and discoveries of antiquarians, he would be entirely incapable of forging the true and genuine glyphs of Ancient America; therefore we consider this testimony of Professor Anthon, coming as it does from an avowed enemy of the Book of Mormon to be a great collateral evidence in its favor..."

    1856 Benjamin G. Ferris publishes his Utah and the Mormons, and on page 54 provides some faulty reporting: "During Smith's searching operations for the discovery of hidden treasures, it is more than probable that he exhumed one or more of those curious glyphs which now figure so largely in the list of American antiquities... Professor Rafinesque, in his Asiatic [sic] Journal for 1832, describes similar plates found by him [sic] in Mexico..."

    1857 John W. Hyde publishes his Mormonism: Its Leaders and on pp. 265-66 says: "Here, then, is the origin of the Urim and Thummim idea; what suggested that of the golden plates? It is a fact that Smith did copy some characters on to a slip of paper, which he sent by Martin Harris to Professor Anthon. It is also a fact, that the description of the characters made by the Professor, does somewhat resemble the description of the glyphs of Otolum, made subsequently by Professor Rafinesque (Atlantic Journal, 1832, Professor Rafinesque). Of this similarity O. Pratt makes great capital as a proof of the Book of Mormon. I admit the resemblance..."

    1867 Pomeroy Tucker publishes his Origin... of Mormonism, and on pp. 75-76 paraphrases Ferris, saying: "Another theory in regard to the plates and hieroglyphics claimed to be found by Smith may possibly be explained in this way. In the list of American antiquities found in the Western country, and preserved in the museums of antiquarians, are what are called glyphs, consisting of curious metallic plates covered with hieroglyphical characters. Professor Rafinesque, in his Asiatic [sic] Journal for 1832, describes similar plates found by him in Mexico..."

    1875 The LDS periodical Juvenile Instructor runs a multi-part article on "Old America" and "Ancient Ruins." The installment for Feb. 6th discusses possible pre-Columbian explorations in the Americas by the Phoenicians, and adds: "Professor Raffinesque, in his Atlantic Journal for 1832, has presented the public with engravings and their meaning, both Phoenician and American, which bear a striking similarity..." No claim is made for the "glyphs of Otolum" being examples of reformed Egyptian, however. The installment for April 17th tells of the legends concerning the Mayan folk hero Votan and then refers the reader to the Book of Ether, etc. for a proper "chronology." No claim is made for Votan being the brother of Jared. The installment for May 1st has a little information about Clavigero, Votan, etc., while the one for July 24th tells about Captain del Rio's 1787 expedition to the Palenque ruins (which it calls "Otolum." No mention is made regarding Joseph Smith's possible access to the accounts of del Rio and other early explorers of the "Ancient Ruins."

    1875 Herbert H. Bancroft publishes his Native Races of the Pacific States, Vol. IV: Antiquities, in which he discusses the Votan legend, Clavigero, Pablo Felix Cabrera, Captain del Rio, etc.

    1879 John T. Short publishes his Native Americans of Antiquity, in which he discusses Clavigero, Pablo Felix Cabrera, Captain del Rio, Bancroft's recent work, Votan, etc. On pp. 144-45 Short reprints a long paragraph on the Book of Mormon, the Jaredites, etc., followed immediately by an introduction to the Votan legend. Short makes no connection between the Jaredites and Votan, but Mormon Elders William H. Sharp, Moses Thatcher and B. H. Roberts would point out purported connections in their writings of 1879, 1881 and 1904 (see below). Short's rendition of the Votan tradition would later become a favorite source for Reorganized LDS apologists, trying to defend their claims for Book of Mormon historicity.

    1879 - Oct. 1 The LDS Salt Lake Deseret News publishes "Part IX" of an extended article by Elder William H. H. Sharp, on "The Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon," in which the writer says: "In the traditions of the Chiapas, one Votan, a grandson of Noah, came from across the sea, from the great tower, and became the founder of the great Maya civilization. He established the kingdom of Xibalba and built a great city, the ruins of which are those called Palinque, mentioned in a former chapter, and agreeing with the city built by the Jaredites mentioned in the Book of Mormon. This Votan also agrees with the brother of Jared who came from the tower to America, and established in the land where the ruins of Palinque are found, a great and mighty people. This legend was handed down and incorporated in the Chiapas' history, [its] origin having been obtained through the history found recorded upon the 24 plates found by the people of Limhi, and introduced into and upon the plates of Nephi, during the Nephite reign. And thus is the Book of Mormon confirmed, and thus it is shown how the aboriginal races of America became acquainted with the Bible events, and a knowledge of the book or history of the Jaredites, found in the Book of Ether..."

    1881 The June and July 1881 issues of LDS periodical The Contributor publishes the third and fourth installments in Elder Moses Thatcher's "Divine Origin of the Book of Mormon," in which the writer "historical evidence" for the purported historicity of the book. Thatcher cites Clavigero, Cabrera, John T. Short, etc., to present a number of evident similarities shared by the ancient legend of Votan and the story of the brother of Jared (as told in the Book of Ether). Elder Thatcher

    1881 RLDS Elder Josiah Ells publishes his Prophetic Truth, and on p. 50 says: "Two years after the Book of Mormon appeared in print, Professor Rafenseque, in his Atlantic Journal for 1832, gave a public fac simile of American glyphs found in the ruins of a stone city...These the learned professor denominates the 'elements of the glyphs of Otolum;' and he supposes that by the combination of these elements, words and sentences were formed, constituting the written language of the ancient nations of this continent. By an inspection of the fac simile of the forty-six elementary glyphs, we find all the particulars, which Professor Anthon ascribes to the ["reformed Egyptian"] characters [supplied by Joseph Smith, Jr.]..."

    1884 RLDS Bishop Edmund L. Kelley publishes a copy of the "Braden & Kelley Debate," and in his 7th speech he states that prior to the early 1830s most people had no knowledge of America's ancient civilizations and that, therefore, Joseph Smith could not have consulted popular literature to get ideas for writing the Book of Mormon. Kelley then says: "There was one English publication in 1822, but it was never known in this part of the world, and not widely in any; and I doubt if there is a man in the State of Ohio... who ever saw such a work or such an author as that of Fuentes or Del Rio. Mr. Stephens, whom I cited last evening, and who wrote in 1841, a traveler all over this globe, and a man that was versed not only in the English language, but in the Spanish also, in which Del Rio's work was originally written, had never heard of it at the time he first went to Mexico in 1839. But suppose that they had heard of the publication of the work, and that it had been all over the country in 1822, and that it contained anything of these great cities: -- what would it benefit my opponent in this argument? His claim is that this "Romance" was written by one Solomon Spaulding in 1811..."

    1888 The Dec. 1888 issue of LDS periodical The Contributor publishes Elder Brigham H. Roberts' article "A New Witness for God: IX," in which Roberts quotes C. S. Rafinisque's 1832 article on the "glyphs of Otulum" in support of the "reformed Egyptian" characters Martin Harris carried to New York City in Feb. 1828.

    1889 Hubert H. Bancroft publishes his History of Utah, 1540-1886, and on page 46 says: "In 1843, near Kinderhook, Illinois, in excavating a large mound, six brass plates were discovered of a bell-shape four inches in length and covered with ancient characters... No key has yet been discovered for the interpretation of the engravings upon these brass plates, or of the strange gylphs upon the ruins of Otolum in Mexico, [see] Daniel Wedderburn, in Popular Science Monthly, Dec. 1876..." Bancroft's coupling Rasfinsque's "gylphs of Otolum" with the Kinderhook plates hoax may indicate his lack of confidence in Rasfinsque's attempts in translating them. Bancroft had earlier published a facsimile of the original glyphs from which Rasfinsque did his work (see Bancroft's Native Races of the Pacific States, Vol. IV: Antiquities, 1875, p. 355).

    1890 RLDS Apostle William H. Kelley publishes his Presidency and Priesthood, and in chapter 11 quotes Rafinesque and then says: "The reader will please note that these characters, as described, were arranged very much as were those submitted by Messrs. Smith and Harris to Prof. Anthon, Anthon being the witness; yet Prof. Rafenesque's discovery was made subsequent to Mr. Smith's characters being submitted to Prof. Anthon. This also confirms Smith's claim that his characters were true ones, and also further supports the claim of the Book of Mormon..."

    1894 RLDS Elder Rudolph Etzenhouser publishes his From Palmyra..., and on pp. 111-15 discusses at length the matter of "Dates of American Antiquites -- When Published," contending that it was not possible "for Joseph Smith to have read works of [American] antiquity, and then have written the Book of Mormon in conformity with the findings of the explorers..." The Mormon apologist expands upon his original discussion of this topic (published in his 1892 The Book Unsealed) to include an admission that one of Alexander von Humboldt's books on the Americas might have been available to pre-1830 readers, but he ignores Robert Southey's 1805 book Madoc, (which cites several Spanish historians), the 1822 del Rio booklet, Ethan Smith's editions of 1823 and 1825 (which cite Humboldt and Spanish historians), Josiah Priest's 1825 book (with lengthy sections on ancient Mexico), as well as several other similar pre-1830 sources available to readers in the area where Joseph Smith lived.

    1894 RLDS Elder Henry A. Stebbins publishes his Book of Mormon Lectures. The limited first edition is immediately sold out, but is enlarged and republished in 1901. In his First Lecture Stebbins takes up the issue of what published source material might have been available to Joseph Smith before 1830. He admits the 1822 publication of the Del Rio report, but then says: "We examine other authors, historians, and writers of encyclopedias, and find no proof of any other book upon American antiquities being published in the English language until after the Book of Mormon was copyrighted, but several between 1830 and 1842." Allowing only del Rio as a remotely possible source for Joseph Smith, Stebbins downplays even that possibility by saying that the 1822 booklet was "not... generally known to the learned world... much less... to a humble, poor, and an out of the way class on the American borders. I find no evidence that any other American writer mentioned Del Rio's work before Mr. Priest [in the 1834 edition of American Antiquities]."

    1895-1905 LDS Elder George Reynolds compiles his Commentary on the Book of Mormon, the first volume of which is not published until 1955 (almost fifty years after his death). In volume I, pp. 223-224, 235-236, etc., Reynolds refers to what he calls "the myth about Voltan," citing Pablo Felix Cabrera, etc.

    1899 LDS Apostle James E. Talmage publishes his Articles of Faith, and in the 15th chapter (on the Book of Mormon) provides a section on "corroborative evidence furnished by modern discoveries." Talmage cites John T. Short's quotation from Clavigaro -- about Votan being at the Tower of Bable, etc. Talmage directs the reader to Elder Thatcher's 1881 Contributor articles for further details. Apostle Talmage also issues this same "corroborative evidence" in his 1899 tract, "The Book of Mormon."

    1902 William A. Linn publishes his Story of the Mormons, and in chapter 10 he says: "Orson Pratt, in his "Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon," thought that he found substantial support for Smith's hieroglyphics in... [the] Atlantic Journal for 1832... A facsimile of the entire Tablet may be found on page 355, Vol. IV, Bancroft's "Native Races of the Pacific States." Rafinesque selected these characters from the Tablet, and arranged them in columns alongside of other ancient writings, in order to sustain his argument that they resembled an old Libyan alphabet. Rafinesque was a voluminous writer both on archaeological and botanical subjects, but wholly untrustworthy. Of his Atlantic Journal (of which only eight numbers appeared) his biographer, R. E. Call, says that it had "absolutely no scientific value."... He was very fond of inventing names, and his designation of Palenque as Otolum was only an illustration of this. So much for the 'elementary glyphs.'"

    1904 Elder Brigham H. Roberts has his "The Book of Mormon Part II" published in the LDS YMMIA Manual No. 8. On pp. 326-27 this treatise Roberts devotes brief attention to the question: "Did the Book of Mormon antedate works in English on American antiquities, accessible to Joseph Smith, and his associates?" Roberts concludes that only five such works "could at all be accessible to Joseph Smith..." -- these being "Archaeologia Americana," (1820); "View of the Hebrews..." (1825); "American Antiquities" (1833); "History of the American Indians," (1775); and Black's translation of von Humbolt's works on New Spain (1811). In a later edition of his work, Roberts would remove the post-1833 American Antiquities from the list, but would fail to mention that the same writer produced Wonders of Nature in 1825, containing some similar material. Missing from the list is Southey's 1805 Madoc; Boudinot's 1816 Star in the West; the 1822 Del Rio-Cabrera booklet; and several other pertinent volumes Elder Roberts should have been aware of by 1904. His failure to list English versions of del Rio, Clavigero, Torquemada, etc. is puzzling, since he cites these authors in other parts of his treatise. On page 294 Roberts compares the Mayan folk hero Votan to the Book of Mormon's "brother of Jared," however he cites the old Clavigero version of the story, rather than the elaboration given by Cabrera in the 1822 booklet. It appears to have escaped Elder Roberts' attention that highly relevant books by von Humboldt, Southey, the old Spanish historians, etc. would have been accessible to writers like Solomon Spalding when Joseph Smith was yet a child.

    1910 Charles A. Shook publishes his Cumorah Revisited and devotes considerable to early reports of American antiquities. On pp. 129-138 he discusses "Archaeological Knowledge in 1830," citing the 1822 del Rio account and some other early sources which mention del Rio. On page 120 Shook discusses the Mayan folk hero Votan, citing John T. Short's 1879 book. Short, in turn, makes use of Clavigaro's material on Votan, at the expense of Cabrara's elaborations on the legend (as first published in the 1822 Del Rio-Cabrera booklet).

    1917 The June 1917 issue of LDS periodical Improvement Era publishes the final installment of Elder Thomas W. Brookbank's article "A Study in American Hebraic Names," in which Brookbank cites Pablo Felix Cabrera, Bancroft, etc. in support of the conclusion that the Mayan folk hero Votan bore a Hebraic name.

    1958 James D. Bales publishes his The Book of Mormons? and devotes two chapters (pp. 160-240) to the topic of what published source materials were available regarding American antiquities, prior to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. In this lengthy discussion Bales several times mentions the 1822 del Rio booklet but does not single out its contents as a probable source for anything found in the Book of Mormon.

    Some More Recent Developments

    Charles A. Shook's 1910 Cumorah Revisited has never been adequately responded to by Mormon writers and scholars. Although Shook's volume was a child of its times, and far from being a "most correct book," it did methodically address the old LDS claims regarding pre-Columbian America and the Book of Mormon. Specifically, Shook demonstrated that Mormonism and modern science were fast diverging in offering explanations for the first peopling of North and South America, for the rise of highly organized cultures in the Americas, on the technology employed by those cultures, the dating of their respective development and decline, which ancient Americans actually produced written texts, etc. etc.

    Charles A. Shook (in 1910) and James D. Bales (in 1958) also effectively demonstrated that there were numerous books, journal articles, and newspaper accounts of the "American antiquities" available for study (and plagiarizing) well before the publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830. Mormon intellectuals may have never responded openly to what Shook and Bales had to say, but they obviously did take note of certain facts presented by those critics. The Mormon writers of the twentieth were far more circumspect in presenting "archaeological evidence" for the Book of Mormon, and in offering literary evidence of Smith's undeniable "ignorance" of American Indian origins and achievements. The old LDS arguments, designed for delivery before an inquiring non-Mormon audience were slowly retired and eventually replaced with far less direct and concrete assertions. All the while, however, those same Mormon writers and apologists continued to offer the same, worn-out explanations when "preaching to the choir" of credulous Latter Day Saint audiences. Probably this recourse to the old party line continued more as a product of ecclesiastical inertia than from any covert plan for continuing religious indoctrination. When a Mormon elder assured his listeners in 1950 that contemporary archaeology was proving the Book of Mormon true -- or that before 1830 practically nothing was known about the early Indians -- he was simply passing on what he himself had been told decades before.

    The second half of the twentieth century saw the popularization of Fawn Brodie's No man Knows My History, the rise of the "New Mormon History," and the anti-Mormon phenomenon personified by Jerald and Sandra Tanner. The verdict of history was finally beginning to seep down to the Mormon roots and have some noticeable effect there. Dan Vogel's 1986 Indian Origins and the Book of Mormon perhaps marked the culmination of the ground swell in Mormon realization that began back when Shook and Bales were still alive. Vogel not only made mention of obscure early sources like the 1822 del Rio-Cabrera booklet, he demonstrated how widespread the knowledge in them and about them had become by 1830. But Vogel differs from Shook and Bales in at least one important respect: those writers were vehemently anti-Mormon, attacking both the religion and its scriptures, and, in the process, reducing all their arguments to one ultimate message: "Nephites did not write the book, Solomon Spalding wrote it!"

    This conclusion was far too narrow a reconstruction of Mormon beginnings to suit the minds of investigators like Vogel. The "Spalding theory," as many called the claims relayed by Shook, Bales, et al., ignored the social and religious environment of the earliest Mormons -- and it ignored the fact that the Book of Mormon obviously reflects many elements and items from the late 1820s life and belief of its earliest advocates. After all, from where else could have the book's probable author (Joseph Smith, Jr.) derived a Book of Mormon name like "Gadianton" than from the 1822 publication of Pablo Felix Cabrera's reference to "Gaditani merchants" and "Gaditanian columns?" Where else could a struggling young author find inspiration for writing about destroyed ancient American cities, but in the 1822 publication of Antonio del Rio's exploration of the Palenque ruins? And, if not from those exact sources, then from other published reports of a similar nature, in wide circulation before the appearance of the Book of Mormon?

    As clever as these kinds of arguments tend to be, they are not fully convincing to the Book of Mormon believer and they may ultimately prove equally unconvincing to the unprejudiced investigator. For every suspicious thematic element, or line of odd phraseology that can be gleaned from the Book of Mormon, in support of a Joseph Smith authorship, half a dozen more might also be plucked out in support of an argument favoring Solomon Spalding, or a young Sidney Rigdon, or some other potential writer whose literary scribblings predate those of Smith by years or decades. Unless the application of "higher criticism" to the Book of Mormon can effectively eliminate other "voices" in the text than that of Smith, his probable role can still reasonably be viewed as that of a late contributor and final redactor only.

    In 1973, Michael D. Coe, professor of anthropology at Yale University, offered a scathing, non-Mormon perspective on Mormons and Archaeology," which was published in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought VIII:2. In his paper Coe showed up the traditional Mormon inability (or lack of interest) in establishing pre-Columbian chronologies coordinating dates derived from the Book of Mormon with those produced by modern science. Using the 1822 del Rio account, a fanciful writer in 1828 (or 1812, for that matter), might construct a tale about how white-skinned, Old World peoples built the Palenque ceremonial center as a "mighty work of the Nephites" in the years between 600 BCE and 385 CE -- nothing wrong with that, in a work of fantasy. But, as Coe points out, how can Mormons reconcile that fantasy with the reality of the same ceremonial center having actually been built around the year 600 CE? As Coe says: "I can only sympathize with the Mormon scholar who has to work that one out."

    As mentioned above, "the Mormon scholar" may not have much to say back to a scientist like Dr. Coe, but the scientist's communication still makes an impact upon the educated Mormon mind -- eventually. In an a subtle admission that would have been unthinkable only a few decades ago, the RLDS writers of a 1997 article on the Book of Mormon direct their readers to Dee F. Green's "Book of Mormon Archaeology -- The Myths and the Alternatives," as published in the 1969 Dialogue IV:2. No references here to Josiah Priest, or Rafinesque, or Baldwin, or Pidgeon. To witness the last gasp of Mormon anti-intellectualism dependent upon those forgotten voices of the past, the contemporary investigator may consult the works of the RLDS fundamentalist "restoration branch" regurgitators, or to output of LDS throwbacks like Phyllis Carol Olive or some of the writers published by the BYU-based F.A.R.M.S.

    An excerpt from Lin Ostler Stack's 1983 Sunstone article is perhaps appropriate at this point. The writer of "In Search of the Land of Mormon" says:

    The bare facts of the matter are that nothing, absolutely nothing, has ever shown up in any New World excavation which would suggest to a dispassionate, observer that the Book of Mormon, as claimed by Joseph Smith, is a historical document relating to the history of early migrants to our hemisphere. Even for the breeziest Mormon, these are strong words, Indignant LDS readers no doubt cried "What about the stela stone with Lehi's vision engraved on it? What about Jack West's 1954 missionary popular Trial of the Stick of Joseph or its comic-illustrated version Book of Mormon on Trial?" Those who have kept up to date may have entreated, "What about David A. Palmer's 1981 In Search of Cumorah?" or more compellingly, "What of the excavations at El Mirador?"

    The answer, of course, is that wherever contemporary Mormon scholars do make a meaningful contribution to scientific knowledge, that finding and the communication of its contents will almost certainly do nothing whatever to support the traditional LDS/RLDS claims regarding the Book of Mormon. On the other hand, such contributions of knowledge -- whether from Mormons or from non-Mormons -- can add one more piece to the puzzle of reconstructing the pre-Columbian (and pre-1830) past. Some such additions may eventually prove to be faulty ones, but they will stand or fall within the context of their relationship to other modern discoveries, not because of how well they appear to uphold time-worn notions of Hebrew Nephites and white-skinned builders of ancient Central American cities.

    In 1787 Captain Antionio del Rio marched into the jungles of Chiapas in order to take an actual look at the puzzling ruins located there. He might have simply sat down in a local inn and made out a report based upon what he thought the ruins were, or based upon what other people wanted the "stone houses" to be -- but that is not what he did. Instead, he went, looked, and from his observation concluded that the wonderous "stone houses" had been built by the Indians of a past era. Perhaps, he thought, those Indians may have taken in some ideas and methods from another culture in order to construct their architectual masterpiece. But, in the end, he had to admit that he did not know that for sure. He separated his opinion from his observation and made his report, including in it the first illustrations of Mayan glyphs ever to reach the outside world.

    Today the New World Archaeological Foundation sponsors scientific excavations in Chiapas. They follow in the tracks of del Rio and perhaps they will continue to emulate his example -- of separating wishful thinking from actual observation. So long as the modern explorers continue to follow that path, Lin Ostler Stack can rest assured that "'Mormon archaeology' is no longer something that brings chuckles in Gentile circles."

    The young Joseph Smith, Jr. probably never read the 1822 del Rio-Cabrera booklet. And, if he saw information excerpted from it in Yates and Moulton's 1824 history of New York, Smith probably made no use of what he read there in preparing the text of the Book of Mormon for publication. Pablo Felix Cabrera -- as Mormon scholars later realized -- offers little material from which to construct or defend a "Nephite record." His Votan does not fit well into del Rio's Palenque and does not provide anything useful for Mormon apologists either. It is the earlier voice of Clavigero -- almost muted by Cabrera in the 1822 publication -- that resonates with the Mormon story. Clavigero's Voltan provided grist for Robert Southey's mill in 1805, and he may have served the needs of Solomon Spalding equally well in the decade that followed. Spalding never read del Rio and Cabrera, but he did read Southey's Madoc, that singular specimen of Celtic Votanism, complete with numerous citations of Clavigero's account of Central American prehistory.

    Did Solomon Spalding steal bits and pieces from Southey's Madoc? Did he appropriate Southey's reference to a trans-oceanic traveler carrying the light producing urim and thummim within his submarine barque, perhaps all the way to the Americas? Did he take Clavigero's story of a civilization-building, ocean-sailing, refugee from the Tower of Bable? Did he then "glue" the two excerpted ideas together, to produce Moriancumr the Jaredite -- who flees from that same tower, takes magical shining stones into his submarine barques, and carried his people across the ocean to a new world? Did Joseph Smith steal "Gadianton" from Dr. Cabrera? And did he steal Moriancumr the Jaredite from Solomon Spalding -- even if totally unwittingly, through the agency of a backsliding Campbellite clergyman?


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